THE number of new homes being built has risen for the first time since the financial crisis caused by the big banking bailout six years ago.

New figures show 15,957 new homes were completed in Scotland in the year to March 2014, compared to 14,895 in the previous year - a seven per cent rise.

Ministers said the statistics confirmed the Scottish Government remain on track to deliver on its target of 30,000 new affordable homes by 2016.

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Local authority figures show 1,140 new council houses were built over the year, the highest total in 25 years.

But the home building industry warned sustained increases in production were under threat because funding for the Help to Buy shared equity scheme was running out.

It emerged last month that all of the funds for the central area of Scotland, accounting for 80 per cent of the funding, have now been allocated.

Anyone hoping to get Help to Buy there before next April will now have to find the extra money elsewhere or let their house deal fall through.

Help to Buy Scotland is designed to help homebuyers own 100 per cent of their new home through obtaining up to a 75 per cent mortgage with as low as a five per cent deposit.

Philip Hogg, chief executive of trade body Homes for Scotland, warned: "The industry has effectively had the rug pulled from beneath it before any firm recovery has had the opportunity to take hold. And the impact is already apparent, with significant drops in sales in the weeks since the budget expired in July. We therefore fear a return to decline in the months ahead."

Shelter Scotland said there needed to be a new commitment to funding 10,000 news socially rented homes a year to deal with demand. Director Graeme Brown said: "The Scottish Government is still only scratching the surface of the problem."