BUDGET 2016: Nama faces ‘challenge’ of 20,000 new units

Nama will have to more than double its number of active sites and delivery rate of residential units if it is to meet the “challenging” budget target of providing 20,000 new units by 2020 as part of a €4.5bn programme.
BUDGET 2016: Nama faces ‘challenge’ of 20,000 new units

“Achievement of a 20,000 residential unit funding delivery target will be very challenging,” the agency said after the budget last night.

“Nama will need to have at least 100 sites concurrently active — there are about 40 active sites at present.

“It will need to fund the delivery of houses/apartments at an average run rate of 80 per week (4,000 per annum) compared to 30 per week (1,500 per annum) at present.”

Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced the plan in yesterday’s budget speech.

Population growth and the economic recovery have resulted in a requirement for at least 10,000 new units per annum in the Dublin area, but the market has only delivered 3,300 units in the last year, said Mr Noonan.

He told the Dáil that, following a high-level review and analysis of residential sites under its control, Nama is now aiming to deliver 20,000 residential units before the end of 2020, with 90% in the greater Dublin area — Wicklow, Meath, and Kildare. About 75% of these units will be houses, mainly starter homes.

He said Nama will work with developers to achieve the target on time, which means delivering an average 80 new housing units every week across some 100 active sites.

The entire project will require funding of around €4.5bn, which will all be recovered, and will support 30,000 jobs (in house building and ancillary roles) based on peak funding.

Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh said the scale of the plan represents a “major and interesting strategic challenge for Nama”.

“But it is one that we as a team will address with great energy and commitment,” he said.

“We will work with our existing debtors where possible, but the scale of the challenge is such that we will also work in partnership with contractors and counter-parties to ensure delivery of this ambitious residential programme.

“Other bodies, such as local authorities and utilities, will also have a major role to play to ensure delivery of the programme.”

Nama said that following its review, sites capable of delivering 14,000 units are commercially viable to develop based on current sales prices, current planning, and current completion costs.

Sites capable of delivering at least another 6,000 units are commercially marginal to develop at current sales prices, it said, but they may become commercially viable through intensive asset management and planning work.

The provision of essential infrastructure by local authorities, Irish Water, and Transport Infrastructure Ireland will contribute to the commercial viability of some sites, it said.

Nama said it will work with existing debtors, where possible, but will also work on a commercial basis with developers with no current links with Nama, and it will also seek out joint venture and partnership arrangements.

It will monitor market activity and, if there is a build-up of unsold stock, output will be reduced pending a recovery in the housing market’s ability to absorb new supply.

Housing agency Clúid said under the current Part V social housing arrangements, Nama will be required to provide social housing for only 10% of the new 20,000 units.

“This is a major missed opportunity to achieve a much-needed social dividend from Nama,” said head of policy Simon Brooke.

“In Clúid’s view, Nama should be required to include 20% social housing and another 20% affordable rent to meet the needs of people who cannot afford to buy or pay market rents.

“This would provide 8,000 affordable homes, four times as many as the 2,000 that will be provided under current Part V arrangements.”

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland said the Nama targets are too low. President Andrew Nugent said: “The minister has stated that Nama will deliver 20,000 units over the next five years but we actually need that level of output each year.

“The lack of direct action will mean that more people will continue to struggle to afford to buy and rent property in a market constrained by severe shortages in supply.”

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