Nama to fast-track delivery of housing

An unfinished housing estate in Co Cork will be the first to benefit from a new Nama initiative to fast-track the delivery of social housing in so-called ghost estates.

The first contract of its kind signed, it involves a social housing agency leasing Nama-controlled properties in an estate in the Cobh area to approved applicants.

It is part of a new partnership between Nama and the National Association of Building Co-Operatives (Nabco) — a countrywide federation for the cooperative housing sector — to tackle the problem of unfinished housing estates.

“This is a result of the very positive engagement between Nabco and Nama and represents the way forward in terms of maximising the delivery of social housing by approved housing bodies collaborating with Nama,” a Nama spokesman said.

The contract was signed following negotiations between Nama and various social housing bodies.

Under the terms of a complex arrangement, Nama has established a “special purpose vehicle” (SPV) and offered standardised lease terms to help streamline the delivery of homes for social housing in areas where a local authority has confirmed there is demand.

Nabco is the first approved housing body to enter into an agreement to lease properties from the SPV under the new lease terms.

While there are a reported 1,500 so-called ghost estates across the country, only 10% are under Nama’s control.

Nama said it has identified over 4,000 houses and apartments, controlled by its debtors and receivers, as being available for social housing. The Nama spokesman said the contract signed for the Cork estate is an example of what can be achieved nationwide.

Nabco is getting involved in the Cork project as part of its €20m investment to supply almost 300 co-operative homes across Ireland over the next two years through the completion of unfinished estates, unsold affordable homes and new developments.

The new developments include:

* 35 units at both North King St, Dublin 1, and Richmond Rd, Dublin 3.

* 30 units at Moss St in Dublin 2.

* 21 units at Greenlawns, Coolock, Dublin 5.

* 20 units at Camac Crescent, Dublin 8.

* 31 units at Auburn Lodge, Killiney, Dublin.

Nabco is also providing a co-operative option to a number of unsold affordable homes in housing estates.

The entire programme could create at least 120 construction jobs, and opportunities will be created for many construction trade apprentices.

Nabco said it is actively seeking further strategic partners through a new tender process launched last week.

The €20m investment is in addition to Nabco’s ongoing energy retrofit and refurbishment programmes which are under way across its current stock of 1,800 homes in nine local authority areas.

Nabco chief executive Niall O’Keeffe said the new approach can provide the Government with a real solution to the housing crisis.

“The environment is very different to that which we have been working in since our foundation 40 years ago,” he said.

“New thinking and innovative partnerships are what we are focused on.”

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