Wednesday 21 February 2018

Just 2,400 Nama homes used for social housing

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Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Nama has provided 2,400 social housing units to local authorities and housing agencies since 2012.

However a greater number, about 4,200 homes, were offered to housing authorities - but were rejected or sold by Nama before it got a response.

It is understood the three main reasons homes were turned down were property size, location, and fears of concentration, which is where there is too much social housing in the same place.

Nama said it has spent around €350m remediating, completing and purchasing properties for use as social housing. By far the largest numbers of properties accepted by housing agencies are in Dublin and other urban centres.

The figures are included in Nama's end-of-year report for 2017.

Nama has generated over €40.5bn in cash since the agency was established, and says it is currently on course to return a surplus of €3bn to the Exchequer when it shuts in 2020. That was largely a result of selling off properties, but the agency has more recently shifted focus to new housing, including a Government target to support 20,000 new homes by 2020.

The agency said an estimated 7,200 units were completed between 2014 and the end of 2017 through Nama funding. A further 9,500 units are either under construction or have secured planning permission.

Planning applications are due to be submitted for a further 8,500 units to have planning submitted during 2018.

Part of that reflected the completion of so called ghost estates. Nama says the number of unfinished housing estates on its books has reduced from 335 in 2010 to eight. The last of those will be built out this year.

While there have been calls to turn Nama into a housing agency, it does not build directly, but typically lends to Nama builders to finance schemes.

A construction bank proposed in Budget 2018, known as Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) is due to start work this year. It will be legally independent of Nama, but is being set up to draw on skills and experience within the agency.

Irish Independent

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