Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 11 December 2016

Cut-price €6bn NAMA landbank hits market

Farmers in pole position as thousands of acres put up for sale

Published 02/08/2011 | 05:00

Contractor Michael Holland,
Killeagh, Co Cork, cuts the first crop of oilseed
rape for Rory and Darren Allen, Ballymaloe
House, Shanagarry. The pre-swathed crop
yielded 2.2t/ac at 9pc moisture
Contractor Michael Holland, Killeagh, Co Cork, cuts the first crop of oilseed rape for Rory and Darren Allen, Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry. The pre-swathed crop yielded 2.2t/ac at 9pc moisture

Thousands of acres of land that NAMA paid almost €6bn for are set to return to agricultural production in the wake of Ireland's property crash.

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The NAMA land portfolio contains 24 land banks that are classified as agricultural land and dozens more sites where development never started.

NAMA spokesman Ray Gordon said all of the sites listed in the NAMA portfolio are on the market, with more land to be added to the list in the coming months.

The majority of the sites are expected to go back into farming, including some sites where development had taken place.

"In some instances, where development had begun but there is no potential or economic merit in continuing, NAMA may invest money in returning the land to agricultural production," he admitted.

Land accounts for 18pc of more than €30bn of assets now owned by NAMA since it took over the loan books of developers.

The total acreage of land available is shrouded in secrecy, although it is believed to total thousands of acres across the 32 counties, Britain and parts of Europe. The list also includes nine quarries and some forestry land.

NAMA is refusing to disclose more details about the sites other than listing the address of each property. However, receivers at Ernst & Young are handling 400-500ac of land in Cork alone, the majority of which is classed as uncommenced development.

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A spokesman for the company said most of the land would not be marketed as agricultural land but he admitted "there is land that will never, ever be developed".

Some of the Cork land has been in receivership for more than 18 months and all land suitable for agricultural production is currently being farmed.

The NAMA land portfolio includes farmland in every county except Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Fermanagh, Monaghan and Louth, although all 26 counties have undeveloped sites listed.

While some sites are located beside existing residential and commercial developments, others were bought purely on speculation of future development, as in the case of land beside the proposed Adare bypass in Co Limerick.

While NAMA has claimed there will be no fire sales of the assets in receivership, it also insisted there would be no speculative hoarding either, and Mr Gordon encouraged anyone with an interest in buying land to contact the receiver companies immediately.

Although all the land is currently for sale, receivers are expected to start actively marketing properties in the coming weeks.

John Dawson, from the Irish Auctioneers and Valuers Institute (IAVI), said some development land had fallen in value by up to 97pc as a result of the property crash.

He added that some sites that changed hands for millions of euro in the boom would end up being sold at €8,000-12,000/ac.

"In 20 years' time, sites within a town boundary might have some 'hope value' but outside of a town, they will be of no consequence," he said.

Tom Crosse, from GVM Limerick, maintained that even zoned land in rural areas would only command agricultural values.

"The wheel has come full circle and villages and rural towns will not recover," said the auctioneer.

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