If and when finance for buyers becomes available and plentiful, housebuilding faces another hurdle - planning.

But even in this notoriously intractable area there are positive signs.

Philip Hogg recognises and applauds the efforts by the industry to ensure viable project go ahead and meet demand , but remains critical. "It's difficult and challenging," he says. "There are some good signs from some planning authorities, but not enough, and they are not spread widely enough to achieve the scale that's needed. There are real questions about the capacity of the planning service to gear up [to the pace of recovery] and deliver the right scale of approvals and consents."

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Craig McLaren, director of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Scotland says: "Philip is right, the ambition is there. Among planners there is a desire to be enablers and facilitators. He is also right to suggest that the problem is with how the system is resourced. It is regarded as the Cinderella service, and it needs to be recognised by councils as core to their economic ambitions. The resourcing has to follow. One of the issues that worries me is that we get to a position where demand improves, but public sector resources means that there isn't enough capacity to provide the service that we need."

McLaren also acknowledges the political leadership behind the drive to improve, including the High Level Group and Cosla, also including Heads of Planning Scotland and the RTPI as "a useful mechanism" for identifying problems.