No 'fire sale' of Nama properties in the North
The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) has said it will help stabilise the North's property market by taking up to a decade to dispose of assets.
A longer-term view of the loans managed by the organisation would provide part of the solution to the region's problems, said Ronnie Hanna, Nama's head of credit and risk.
Prices are plummeting and there are few sales as first time buyers await further falls in the cost and struggle to get mortgages.
There had been warnings by the North's Finance Minister Sammy Wilson against a "fire sale" of assets by Nama in an attempt to quickly realise cash.
Mr Hanna said: "Nama is an asset management vehicle and contrary to how it is portrayed in some quarters it is not a toxic bank.
"We have the capacity to take a longer term view of the loans we take on, if it makes commercial sense, and our timeframe is to manage and realise the loans and the property held as collateral for the loans over a seven to ten year time period."
He said Nama, created by the Irish Republic's government to manage loans from five Irish banks linked to land and development, had no interest in hoarding assets longer than necessary.
"We will work with debtors if it makes commercial sense, but debtors must submit a business plan which includes a realistic repayment schedule and we require full co-operation and full disclosure from debtors. Debtor co-operation and capability is key," he said.
The nominal value of the loans in the North that Nama has acquired from some 180 debtors is £3.35bn and this represents 5pc of Nama's total loan portfolio. Undeveloped land accounts for 60pc of assets, 29pc commercial investments, 10pc land under development and 1pc residential development.
Just under a third of the value is in Belfast, 21pc in Co Down and 2pc in Derry city.