Sunday 25 September 2016

Nama to build 20,000 houses by 2020

Fionnan Sheahan and Shane Phelan

Published 03/10/2015 | 02:30

Michael Noonan: 'There is market failure now. Nama, in Section 12 of the Act, have a mandate to intervene if there is market failure. I have had discussions already with Nama about how they might contribute to the supply of housing'
Michael Noonan: 'There is market failure now. Nama, in Section 12 of the Act, have a mandate to intervene if there is market failure. I have had discussions already with Nama about how they might contribute to the supply of housing'

NAMA is to turn into a property developer by building 20,000 houses. Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said he will announce its new role in the property market in Budget 2016.

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He said the property model was now "probably irretrievably damaged". However, Mr Noonan ruled out simply giving property developers tax breaks, as is being lobbied for by the construction industry.

He said: "There is market failure now. Nama, in Section 12 of the Act, have a mandate to intervene if there is market failure. I have had discussions already with Nama about how they might contribute to the supply of housing.

"And they have brought forward recommendations, which they have discussed with their board.

"Their board is of the view that between now and 2020, they could deliver 20,000 new units, principally in Dublin, but also in some of the other counties.

"It would be a mix of houses and apartments, but it would be far more houses than apartments. It would be far more biased towards the provision of housing.

"While the market is being repaired, I think that is a very strong initiative."

Councils

Mr Noonan said the market was "beginning to repair itself". He pointed out the trend in other countries of publicly quoted companies, getting money at 4pc interest, becoming the main players in construction.

The minister said he was cautious about State intervention in the property market.

"What worries me is I was here in the '90s and I contributed to the debates on three Bacon reports. Every one of them was to solve a supply problem in the market and take overheating out of the market. And every time the State intervened, it got worse," he said.

Meanwhile, the County and City Management Association (CCMA) has rejected claims that councils have questions to answer over their refusal to take 4,000 housing units that were offered to them by Nama.

Nama claimed that the offers were rejected because councils felt they were in the wrong area or in areas already with a high level of social housing.

The CCMA said that while this was true, there were other factors involved as well, including "a number of units not meeting standards or construction regulations".

Irish Independent

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