Construction industry bosses call for social housing levy

Nama announces plan to bring property portfolios worth €600m to market at CIF conference

Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh said the agency was witnessing continuing strong levels of interest in Irish assets

Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh said the agency was witnessing continuing strong levels of interest in Irish assets

 

Construction industry bosses want the Government to charge a 1 per cent levy on all residential property purchases to pay for social housing.

Speaking at the opening of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) conference in Dublin, the organisation’s president, Philip Crampton, argued that such a levy would be a fair way of funding social housing.

“Last year a levy of this nature would have created a fund of €60 million for social housing,” he said, adding that that would have been substantially more than the amount raised by the current system.

Mr Crampton added that the CIF estimates that a levy of this nature would raise €75 million this year.

Currently social housing is funded through Part V of the Planning Act, which requires 20 per cent of residential development land to be set aside for the purpose, or the equivalent value to be paid to the local authority.

“It is a boomtime tax that has never worked,” Mr Crampton said. He pointed out that ultimately it is only those who opt to buy a newly built house are the people who foot the bill for social housing.

The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) meanwhile has said it is to bring five property portfolios with a combined value of approximately €600 million the market.

The sale includes two portfolios of Dublin offices, one of which includes prime space at 4-5 Grand Canal Square. A retail portfolio consisting of five regional shopping centres, and a residential investment portfolio comprising 600 apartments across seven locations in Dublin.

The announcement was made by Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh at the CIF conference.

The Nama chief also confirmed a report in The Irish Times that the sale will involve a portfolio of eight hotels, including the Fels Point Co Kerry, Osprey in Naas, Co Kildare and the Maldron in Wexford.

Mr McDonagh told conference delegates that the agency was witnessing continuing strong levels of interest in Irish assets among both domestic and international investors.

“The pipeline of sales we are announcing today will provide these investors with enhanced visibility of NAMA’s disposal pipeline in the months ahead, in line with our commitment to bring portfolios with a minimum value of €250 million to the market each quarter,” he said.

Mr McDonagh also provided further details on Nama’s plans to facilitate the development of new office accommodation in the Dublin Docklands. He said that the agency had completed a detailed business plan in respect of undeveloped land in the area securing its loans and that initial strategies had been prepared for the 13 individual sites in which it has an interest.

Mr McDonagh said that Nama has an exposure to 75 per cent of the undeveloped land within the strategic development zone (SDZ).