Nama may help back construction of new Dublin housing, says Noonan

Nama could help get small builders back constructing houses in Dublin, according to Finance Minister Michael Noonan, who said he had spoken about this to the country’s bad bank.

There was hardly any market in Dublin and prices were quite high because the market was so limited with a poor supply, Mr Noonan said, adding that there were not a great many options about what could be done about this, as restarting construction required that confidence return to the market and that credit was available.

He said he would like if Nama could assist with getting small builders back into construction, building in in-fill sites in Dublin for instance, but, he added Nama was just one player and more was needed.

The minister did not comment when asked if the Government was considering any action to force developers sitting on large land-banks in the Dublin area to dispose of some of it.

Mr Noonan said no decision had yet been taken on Nama speeding up the sale of its assets. He met the board and management about two weeks ago when they were holding a day-long strategic thinking session.

Under the legislation Nama operations are due to be reviewed this year, he said, and in the context of the review he asked them to look at various options.

“There are no decisions made yet, but when it comes around to making decisions, I would like them to be evidence-based, so I have asked them to explore the implications of bringing forward the sale, because the market would be able to carry a big sale at this stage,” said Mr Noonan.

He added that he wanted to see the balance sheet on it, the pros and cons as against leaving it on the balance sheet. No decision would be made until he gets the review and he did not have a date for when this would happen.

Asked about the European Commission’s economic growth forecast due next week, Mr Noonan said that, so far, all the projections were quite buoyant.


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