Tuesday 20 August 2019

Not enough Nama homes to solve the house crisis

Nama's chief executive Brendan McDonagh
Nama's chief executive Brendan McDonagh

Nama does not have enough completed, vacant properties in its control to make a significant dent in the housing crisis.

Just 16pc of completed homes controlled by Nama are currently vacant, new figures reveal.

While there are plans for Nama to build 20,000 new homes by 2020, the data released by the agency casts doubt over suggestions that the property it currently controls could also be used to substantially ease the housing shortage.

A document released by the agency revealed that 84pc of the 7,866 completed residential units it controls around the country are occupied.

Many of these were previously offered to local authorities for social housing, but ended up being declined and are now being rented to the private sector.

The figures show:

• 91pc of the 4,443 completed houses and apartments in Nama's control in Dublin are occupied;

• 84pc of the 1,014 Nama housing units in Cork city and the surrounding suburbs are also occupied;

• Nama has just 114 vacant residential units in Galway, out of 518 completed houses and apartments in its control;

• There are just 51 unoccupied units in Co Limerick, where Nama controls 428 completed houses and apartments;

• 96pc of the 138 completed Nama residential properties in Co Louth are occupied.

The agency released the figures in response to questions from the Dáil spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee.

The document gives a snapshot of Nama's housing portfolio for the second quarter of this year. It showed that out of the 2,921 houses it controls, some 2,371 are fully completed. The agency also controls 6,062 apartments around the country, with 5,496 of these completed.

Dublin is divided into four parts in the document, with each area scoring among the highest rates of occupancy in the country.

Some 96pc of the 1,322 units in Dublin West were listed as occupied. The proportion is 91pc for Dublin South, where there are 1,242 residential units in Nama's control.

The occupancy rate for Central Dublin was listed as 90pc of the 1,215 completed Nama properties there.

In Dublin North, the occupancy rate stood at 87pc of the 995 Nama-controlled residential units in that area.

In October, Nama's chief executive Brendan McDonagh told the committee that the agency had previously offered 6,500 properties to local authorities for use as social housing, but only 2,500 were accepted.


Most of those rejected were subsequently taken up by the private sector, he said.

Just 38pc of the properties offered by Nama to local authorities in Dublin were accepted.

Dublin City Council was offered 828 properties and agreed to take 399. Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council was offered 321 and took 132.

Fingal County Council was offered 270, with 105 being accepted, while South Dublin County was offered 581 and took up 121.

The County and City Management Association said some of these were rejected because they were in areas which already had a high proportion of social housing. It also said some units did not meet standards or construction regulations, while others had legal title and management issues.

Irish Independent

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