We cannot solve housing crisis by ourself, says Nama chair

The State’s bad bank, Nama, has claimed that it cannot solely solve the housing crisis, despite stiff criticism of its policies.

Nama chairman Frank Daly, speaking at the Oireachtas Housing Committee yesterday, said anyone who thinks the agency can solve the housing crisis alone is mistaken.

He claimed that 88% of its housing stock had been sold to individuals and not vulture funds.

He also advised the vast majority of the 6,000 housing units in Nama’s portfolio are already occupied.

However, Mr Daly said Nama’s plan to deliver 20,000 units by 2020, will only be one part of the solution.

“Any analysis that claims we can deliver all the homes people need is mistaken,” he said.

“That 20,000 represents about one fifth of the estimated 100,000 units demanded between now and 2020.

We cannot solve housing crisis by ourself, says Nama chair

“So other players will have to make a contribution. We want to get more people into more homes, and we’ve every confidence that we will do so.”

Mr Daly also claimed that Nama will make a surplus of €2bn by the time it winds down.

However, the claim ignores the fact Nama will not seek to recover the full €72bn of the original loan values, but rather only the €32bn that Nama paid for the loans.

Mr Daly said that while the legislation setting up Nama had referred to a social dividend, it was clear the main purpose was its contribution to dealing with the State’s economic difficulties.

“Quite obviously it is a matter for government at the time to decide what they do with that,” he told the committee.

“Nama has a commercial remit and its objective must be get the best financial return for the State.”

Mr Daly said repaying the debt was Nama’s top priority. Paying it back as quickly as it could was the biggest social dividend it could deliver. Mr Daly said senior debt would be paid back by 2018 and subordinated debt by 2020.

The chief executive of Nama, Brendan McDonagh, warned there is an issue with developers hoarding land waiting for a better return.

Mr McDonagh told the committee that, since the start of 2014, they have sold land that could provide up to 20,000 units — but just 5% of that has been delivered.

He said that while there are a number of issues around planning and the density of housing, he believes owners and developers are waiting for a better return.

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