Market faces potential oversupply
John Mulcahy, head of asset management in Nama, was uncharacteristically open when he addressed the Chartered Surveyors conference last week.
Apart from the interesting statistics about Nama’s track record to date, he also spelt out the agency’s philosophy in the past as well as for the future.
Of particular interest was his comment that Nama understood very clearly its role in stabilising the Irish commercial property market when values were falling like a stone and would in the future ensure that pricing stability was maintained by placing as much (or as little) property on the market as was appropriate.
This is all part of Nama’s strategy to ensure that taxpayers get their money back – or do not lose any more.
Put more bluntly, it means that Nama is managing the Irish commercial property market and will continue to do so notwithstanding their imperative to sell €7.5bn of mainly Irish assets over the next three years to meet its ECB and Troika commitments to liquidate itself within six years.
Mr Mulcahy went on to point out that Nama had realised asset disposals of almost €9bn to date with most of the sales coming from the UK and US and only €1bn from Ireland.
The key question circulating amongst the 400 delegates at the conference was the precise volume of overseas money chasing Irish assets and the perceived scarcity of the right type of property investments.
This is in addition to Green REIT’s €350 million fund and the planned Hibernia REIT flotation next month – likely to raise a similar if not a greater amount for property investments.
The answer to that concern must be that if Nama has to sell €7.5bn of mainly Irish assets before the end of 2016 and with probably a similar amount emanating from the other banks and the IBRC loan book, plus the recycling of the properties behind the loans acquired by the Loan Stars and the Starwoods, etc, then we must be facing not a shortage of property coming to the market but a potential oversupply over the next three years.
Some simple maths shows that over the next three to four years that up to €15bn of commercial property could be up for grabs. This equates to €3bn a year – or three times the long term sales average of €1bn per year – hardly a property famine.
Green’s success in acquiring almost €180m of prime property in the past four months is proof of the deal flow.
So it looks like there will be lots of cookies in the shop for the kids who didn’t blow their Confirmation money.