herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

NAMA to hand over 'ghost estate' projects to slash city social housing waiting lists

The Calderwood Court Apartments at Calderwood Road/Sion Hill Road, Drumcondra yesterday.
The Calderwood Court Apartments at Calderwood Road/Sion Hill Road, Drumcondra yesterday.

DUBLIN will lead a campaign by 'bad debt' agency NAMA to slash housing waiting lists with the construction of 20,000 homes nationwide.

NAMA boss Frank Daly confirmed the agency will fund 20,000 Irish homes by 2019 - and will accelerate their work with organisations like the National Association of Building Co-operatives (NABCO) to transform former 'ghost estates' into modern social housing.

NABCO, which was founded in 1974, has now delivered 250 homes for social housing in former NAMA 'ghost estates' in Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Wexford.

But NABCO officials Kieron Brennan and Declan Hudson said they could handle between 500 and 1,000 units a year.

The co-op will unveil 'ghost estate' transformations in Dublin at Calderwood (NAMA) in Drumcondra and NABCO's own Camac Court in Inchicore within weeks.

NAMA and NABCO unveiled another former 'ghost estate' as social housing in The Tannery, Bandon, Co Cork.

The Tannery is the dream first home for Shane Hickey (21) and Caoilfhinn O'Driscoll (20) and their four-month-old baby daughter, Keisha.

"It is a dream come true for us - they are gorgeous houses and we just can't wait to move in," Caoilfhinn said.

Under the new NAMA/co-op model, NAMA purchase the 'ghost estate' and, once it is on their property books, finish and refurbish it. The housing is then provided to the co-op on a 20 year and nine month lease.

"The number of ghost estates we ended up with has turned out to be far fewer than we expected," NAMA boss Frank Daly (inset) said.

"I believe figures are being published by the Department of the Environment shortly which will show that 'ghost estates' are now being worked out."

RENTS

"These 'ghost estates' are turning out to have more potential than expected given the way things have turned in the economy … we were talking two years ago about estates that would have to be demolished but I think there will be very few demolished now."

"We identified about 5,500 units from our portfolio, we offered them to the local authorities and housing bodies," Mr Daly said.

"They have confirmed demand for in excess of 2,000 of those and we have delivered 758 units to date.

"That figure will rise to over 1,000 by the end of this year and it will rise to over 2,000 in 2015/2016. That will be over 2,000 homes delivered by NABCO and NAMA."

NAMA and NABCO acknowledged that their focus will be on Dublin where the social housing problem is at its most acute.

In Dublin, rents have soared by 26pc since 2010/2011 - and by 10pc in the past 12 months alone.

Opposition groups warned that Ireland needs between 6,000 and 8,000 new homes to properly tackle housing waiting lists and provide for those requiring urgent social housing.

Ireland's largest trade union, SIPTU, has demanded that NAMA and state investment funds play a greater role in releasing housing stock from 'ghost estates' to those on social housing waiting lists.

Mr Daly said that NAMA will play its part given its new Government-backed focus.

"NAMA has been charged with getting involved in facilitating house building more generally for the country but, more particularly, in areas of need such as Dublin," Mr Daly said.

FUNDING

"We have committed to funding 4,500 units by the end of 2016. If you want to take the social housing element of that, it may end up at 10pc. If we build 4,500 that mean 450 will go for social housing.

"Also, we have indicated we can fund the building of a further 18,000 to 20,000 units in the next five years."

hnews@herald.ie

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