Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (240)

Richard Boyd Barrett


240. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance the details of empty properties and land banks that have not yet been sold with regard to the assets of NAMA; the negotiations that have taken place to acquire these homes for social and or affordable housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33534/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Deputy will be aware that NAMA does not generally own properties, rather NAMA owns loans for which the properties act as security. 

I am advised that NAMA debtors and receivers own an estimated 1,150 hectares of land suitable for residential development in Ireland. NAMA regularly assesses the feasibility of these sites and, where development is deemed commercially viable, NAMA provides funding for the delivery of new residential units on the sites. I am advised that, to date, in excess of 10,000 units have been completed on residential sites secured to NAMA. Sites with a delivery capacity of 10,000 units are at the pre-planning or feasibility stages; these sites are either not commercially viable currently and/or have specific infrastructural requirements such as roads, water or sewerage that will need to be addressed by local authorities and other State bodies before a planning application can be lodged. I refer the Deputy to NAMA’s 2018 Annual Report which contains further information regarding NAMA’s residential delivery programme.

I wish to highlight that all NAMA-funded residential developments are subject to Part V planning requirements whereby 10% of the development must be provided to local authorities for social housing. Supplementary to this, NAMA continues to review its secured portfolio in order to deliver properties for social housing purposes (albeit at a lesser level than in previous years given the reduced portfolio size). The main method of social housing delivery is by way of direct sale (by a NAMA debtor or receiver) to a local authority or an approved housing body (AHB), or alternatively, by sale to NARPS (a NAMA Group entity) for onward long-term lease to an AHB. To date, the majority of properties delivered by NAMA for social housing purposes have been provided via NARPS. In total 2,544 properties have been delivered by NAMA for social housing purposes. This is supplementary to properties provided by way of Part V compliance by debtors and receivers. 

In addition, I am advised that sites with planning permission for a total of 159 properties have been sold to local authorities or AHBs. A number of other land sales, with potential to deliver approximately 200 residential units, are at varying stages of negotiation with local authorities or AHBs. 

I am advised that close to 100% of all secured housing units are occupied as there are currently less than 40 habitable vacant residential units within NAMA’s secured portfolio, excluding properties which are on the market or sale agreed. NAMA is currently working with its debtors and receivers regarding appropriate strategies for these 40 units, which includes assessing the suitability of the units for social housing.

It is important to note that NAMA’s debtors have the right to maximise the sales value of properties securing their loans so as to enable them to maximise their debt repayments. NAMA cannot require a debtor to take action which would reduce his/her repayment capacity, such as the sale of property at less than its market value.