Monday 19 February 2018

NAMA plans to build 22,000 homes over next five years

Bad bank has 'huge role' to play in plugging shortage of housing

Michael Noonan
Michael Noonan
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

NAMA is ready to build 3,000 homes and fund up to half of the capital's housing needs over the next five years.

The massive shortage of family homes in Dublin is being blamed for the double-digit surge in property prices, but NAMA now says it can be part of the solution.

The bad bank is ready to construct 3,000 properties, while another 19,000 are at design or pre-planning stage.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan, pictured, said NAMA was in a position to play a "huge role" in plugging the housing shortage. "It has the potential to do that, it has the money to do that, and it has the expertise to do that," he said while setting out the strategy for NAMA's final years.

The Dublin Docklands, where NAMA owns several plots of land including the controversial 25-acre Glass Bottle site, will be a major focus in the coming years with Mr Noonan saying there was an opportunity to create an area "to rival prime international waterfront sites like Boston Seaport, London's Canary Wharf or Singapore's Marina Bay".

Estimated demand in Dublin stands at up to 10,000 new residential units per year. NAMA claims it has access to sites which can deliver 22,000 new houses and apartments over the next five years and it has committed to funding delivery of 4,500 by 2016.

The 3,000 shovel-ready projects are scattered across the city and half are already under construction, NAMA said.

NAMA also has access to 2,600 hectares of residentially zoned development lands in Wicklow, Kildare, Meath and Louth. Chairman Frank Daly said a residential team has already been set up to drive forward the strategy.

Mr Noonan said the area was very important, strategically, to both the economic life of the capital and the entire country.

The toxic loans agency has also committed to repaying a minimum of 80pc of its senior debt by 2016 – two years earlier than planned – which the minister said could potentially boost the value of state-owned AIB.

Mr Noonan said the Docklands provided a "unique opportunity" for both NAMA and the taxpayer to have Grade A office space, retail and residential units developed.

The minister said NAMA had proved to be very successful.

"It has done the job so far that we have asked it to do. And it's two years ahead of schedule on the timeline for the disposal of the assets," the minister said.

Fianna Fail's finance spokesman Michael McGrath said NAMA has the potential to develop into a success story.

"The agency is now in possession of very significant levels of expertise and the State must make the best possible use of these skills," he said.

Sinn Fein said NAMA should be aiming to make a profit.

"NAMA does not have to officially wind up until 2020, but the Government wants the majority of its business to be completed by 2016. I am concerned that this kind of haste will cause mistakes," the party's finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said.


Irish Independent

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