Funding for a scheme designed to bring empty homes back into use has been doubled to £4m, the First Minister has said.
The Scottish Government's Empty Homes Loan Fund was set up earlier in 2012, with funding of £2m, but as it opened for bids on Friday Alex Salmond said the amount would be increased.
The extra cash is being targeted to help rural communities in particular, where many of Scotland's 25,000 empty homes are situated.
Mr Salmond said: "Making more affordable housing available is a priority across the country but the need is particularly acute in places like the Highlands, and that's why we are doubling our investment in the Empty Homes Loan Fund.
"From today we are seeking bids for loans to help bring at least 160 empty homes back into use as much-needed extra affordable housing.
"This is part of our commitment to deliver at least 30,000 affordable homes over the lifetime of this parliament - with at least £730m available for housing over the next three years.
"Doubling the Empty Homes Loan Fund is a major milestone towards achieving this aim."
The fund was announced at the same time as legislation to tackle empty properties was introduced to Holyrood. The Unoccupied Properties Bill aims to give local authorities power to increase council tax on empty homes by up to 100%.