Nama controls enough land for 20,000 new homes

Most of development land is in high-demand areas of Dublin, Kildare and Meath

 Eoin Ó Broin:  ‘Its [Nama’s] hoarding of the land makes clear that they have contributed to inflated land costs, pushing up development costs and ultimately the price of buying or renting a home.’ Photograph:  Dara Mac Donaill

Eoin Ó Broin: ‘Its [Nama’s] hoarding of the land makes clear that they have contributed to inflated land costs, pushing up development costs and ultimately the price of buying or renting a home.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

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State-backed Nama controls enough land to build at least 20,000 homes on but most of it remains undeveloped, according to new figures released by the Department of Finance.

Nama debtors and receivers control an estimated 426 hectares of land that has either got planning for housing or being zoned as suitable for residential development, the figures show.

Most of it is in the high-demand areas of Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Wicklow and Cork.

The figures provided by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe in response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin show some 63 hectares of land under Nama control with a potential for 2,745 housing units have planning permission attached. South Dublin County Council has the largest parcel with 15 hectares, enough to accommodate 817 housing units.

A further 363 hectares of residential zoned land without planning permission with a potential for 15,691 homes is also under the control of the agency.

These include sites where planning permission is lodged, being prepared or which are subject to pre-planning and feasibility assessments, the department said.

The largest part, 94 hectares with the potential for 7,400 units, was in Dublin City Council. This was followed by Fingal County Council (136 hectares with the potential for 4,751 units); Kildare County Council (37 hectares with the potential for 1,340 units); Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (7 hectares with the potential for 720 units); and Wexford County Council (15 hectares with the potential for 436 units).

The department noted there was land for approximately 20,000 units within the Nama portfolio with some 1,500 units in the pipeline: either under construction (900) or with funding approved (500).

Land costs

It said Nama’s objective was to make sites with planning applications lodged or being prepared “as shovel-ready as possible by achieving planning before disposal”. A further tranche of sites with longer-term viability subject to planning and infrastructure builds will only likely become available post-2025, it said.

“It is deeply concerning that Nama is only now considering developing out the land which it either controls or has an interest in,” Mr Ó Broin said.

“This demonstrates that the agency was never intended to assist in tackling the housing crisis,” he said.

“Indeed its hoarding of the land makes clear that they have contributed to inflated land costs, pushing up development costs and ultimately the price of buying or renting a home,” Mr Ó Broin said.

Nama in conjunction with local authorities, Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) and community housing trusts need to develop out these sights as a matter of urgency, he said.

“It is not enough for the homes to be delivered. There must be a significant portion of social, affordable rental and affordable purchase homes,” he said.

“Delivering over priced unaffordable open market houses and apartments will do nothing too address the rising affordability and homelessness crisis. We need large volumes of genuinely affordable housing for working people,” he added.

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