A new fund is needed to support people seeking to buy their first home, according to Scottish Labour.
The party has warned that it is now harder than ever for first-time and low-income buyers to get on the property ladder, with a fall in the number of new homes being built.
It comes after statistics published in the UK House Price Index Scotland indicated that average house prices have risen in every month from April 2020 to April 2021 when compared to the previous year, with the exception of July 2020.
Average price increases were recorded in 30 out of the 32 local authorities, when comparing prices with the previous year, according to the statistics.
The largest increase was in South Ayrshire where the average price increased by 16.7% to £147,222.
The largest decrease was recorded in Aberdeen City, where the average price decreased by 0.5% to £138,303.
In April, a fund giving first-time buyers in Scotland up to £25,000 towards a home ran out of money after only a week.
Scottish Labour housing spokesperson Mark Griffin said that a long-term plan is needed to help first-time and low-income buyers.
“Scotland’s housing market was reaching crisis point long before Covid hit, but the shock of the pandemic has left us with challenges of a different scale,” said Griffin.
“A year of house price rises while building has stalled, has left first-time and low-income buyers facing a perfect storm.
“Instead of helping young people get a foot on the property ladder, the SNP have pulled it out from under them by slashing support.
“Tackling these problems requires a real long-term plan, but putting proper support in place for first-time and low-income buyers is the bare minimum we should be doing in the meantime.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Home buyers in Scotland can access a range of Scottish Government support, including the First Home Fund, Help to Buy (Smaller Developers Scheme), Open Market Shared Equity and New Supply Shared Equity.
“By extending Help to Buy and the First Home Fund, we have enhanced support for first time buyers affected by reductions in the availability of higher Loan to Value (LTV) mortgages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst providing much needed confidence to the housing building industry.
“First-time buyer relief for Land and Building Transaction Tax remains in place for those purchasing properties up to the value of £175,000, saving them up to £600, and meaning that an estimated eight out of 10 first-time buyers will pay no tax at all.”