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Saturday 3 December 2016

Council to keep property tax cut of 15pc for 2016

New York High Line
New York High Line

SOUTH Dublin County Council has become one of the country's first local authority to reduce property tax by 15pc for 2016.

Some 34 councillors voted in favour, with just Paul Gogarty of the Independent Alliance voting against.

As the council adopted a similar position last year, property tax will remain the same for South Dublin residents.

Speaking today, Fine Gael leader on South Dublin County Council, William Lavelle, said the decision reflected the difficult times families have already endured.

"South Dublin County Council has budgeted for revenue of €220m this year. This is a massive budget. We don't need to be adding to it by hitting homeowners with more taxes when we have the option not to," he said.

"We saw the impact of reckless, tax-and-spend policy during the 'Celtic Tiger' years. We should have learned from those mistakes. The mindset of 'when we have it we'll spend it' should be consigned to history."

Meanwhile, a swathe of zoned land in Dublin is about to hit the market in a deal that could help finally get house-building in the capital moving again.

Ulster Bank is preparing to sell loans tied to nearly a fifth of all land in Dublin available for residential development.

The portfolio, which includes 32 loans tied to 22 borrowers, will cover about 17pc of the Dublin land supply that is zoned for housing.

The lender is expected to put the portfolio on the market in the coming days under the name 'Project Clear'.

Project Clear is likely to be sold in three tranches. It has a stated value of about €1.2bn, but is likely to be sold for substantially less.

US property funds are likely to be the main bidders for the assets, but Irish builders - especially those with outside backers - are also likely to be in the hunt.

A parcel of land at Adamstown in south-west Dublin will form one of those cornerstones, and is likely to fetch €300m.

An Ulster Bank spokesman confirmed it is "planning to sell a portfolio of loans, Project Clear, which include as collateral 17pc of all residential zoned land in Dublin".

Enforce

Most of the sites are landbanks that were built up by developers such as Joe O'Reilly's Castlethorn Homes during the boom.

The portfolio would have the capacity for potentially thousands of homes.

Most of it has fast-track planning approval under a strategic development zone.

Ulster Bank's decision to run a loan sale will raise some eyebrows in the industry.

Experts had expected the bank to enforce the loans and then sell the assets itself.

The biggest housing construction project planned in the city is the scheme for 3,800 homes, plus a shopping and office space, that US investment firm Hines is developing in Cherrywood.

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