Anglo Irish Bank is preparing to put up to 150 houses and apartments Irish Nationwide seized or accepted from borrowers on to the property market.
The bank, nationalised since January 2009, is trying to clean up the Irish Nationwide (INBS) mortgage book and the disposals are part of an attempt to cut Irish Nationwide's remaining exposures to the residential market. Anglo took over ownership of Irish Nationwide earlier this year.
It is understood the properties are a mixture of houses and apartments in locations all over the country.
Some of them are the result of house repossessions, while others are believed to be the result of buy-to-let investors voluntarily surrendering their properties. Others are the result of enforcement against some developers by INBS.
The last annual report of Irish Nationwide said the building society had about €9.7m worth of residential property. It described these houses and apartments as collateral, but gave no information about how the properties were taken over.
Anglo has invited outsourcing companies to apply to manage the disposal of the residential properties. Whoever wins this contract is also expected to repair some of the properties before they are offered for sale.
It is understood most of the houses are not currently rented out, so the bank is eager to sell them so that income can be generated.
"The properties will be put on the market through an established estate agency who will advise on and co-ordinate the sales for the bank,'' said a spokeswoman yesterday.
Meanwhile, estate agents have reported a rise in residential house sales in what could be a tentative sign the property market is nearing the bottom.
However, the property market remains in the doldrums with a fall in sales recorded in some parts of the country.
Across the country as a whole there was a rise of 14pc in sales agreed in the second three months of this year, compared with the first quarter, the Society of Chartered Surveyors, whose members include estate agents, said.
Sales rose by 32pc when the second quarter of this year was compared with the same three-month period last year.
Chief executive of the society Ed Carey said there was a strong rise in sales in Dublin, but a 12pc fall in the south east and a 10pc decline in the north west.
He admitted reports of a recovery in the property market needed to be treated with extreme caution, but said transactions were taking place where the property location and type were in demand.
Three-bed semis were in demand from families, but there was no movement of one- and two-bed apartments and town houses.