Residential zoning on Central Bank land maintained, paving way for possible sale

Regulator receives 4,100 responses to survey about mortgage rules

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown council has maintained a residential zoning on lands owned by Central Bank at Sandyford in south Dublin, paving the way for a possible sale.

The regulator's currency centre is located on the 37-acre site near the M50 motorway but is in the process of being wound down.

As part of the council’s recent draft development plan, the majority of the site was rezoned residential with a central portion set aside for a sports complex.

The move was “to encourage and promote the use of these State-owned lands for the delivery of a mixed tenure housing development with an emphasis on affordable homes, ” the council said.

The Central Bank previously asked Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown council to maintain residential zoning on the lands, suggesting it may be gearing up to sell the site.

A submission from the Central Bank on the council’s draft development plan for 2022-2028 raises the prospect of part or all of its 37-acre site near the M50 motorway being sold for residential development.

The Central Bank has been in Sandyford for more than 40 years. The bank, however, stopped printing banknotes in 2019 as euro notes are imported for circulation in the State but it retains the facility to mint euro coin at the site.

The submission for the bank by planning consultants John Spain Associates said two options were emerging in a strategic review of the currency centre that is due to complete next year: either a new facility on a portion of the lands or a new facility on different lands. “In this respect, a significant portion or all of the land may become available.”

The regulator's chief operations officer, Gerry Quinn, updated the Central Bank's meeting in September regarding the site.

Online survey response

The Central Bank, meanwhile, received 4,107 responses to an online survey about mortgage rules.

The regulator conducted the survey back in July as part of a wider review and public engagement process on the measures, which limit how much banks can lend to homebuyers.

It invited people to share their views and experiences on the functioning of the mortgage measures since their inception in 2015; their perspectives on what a sustainable mortgage market looks like; and what elements of the mortgage measures they think the Central Bank’s review should focus on.

The results will inform the regulator’s “overarching framework review” of the rules, which will run throughout 2021 and 2022, and which is separate from the Central Bank’s annual review of the measures.

It comes as figures show house price inflation accelerated to 12.4 per cent in September, the fastest rate of growth in over three years.

Central Bank deputy governor Sharon Donnery said earlier this year that the rules were necessary to prevent another credit price spiral.

According to the minutes of the Central Bank's September meeting, Robert Kelly, the head of the Central Bank's macro-financial division, presented "an initial risk assessment of the 2021 annual review of the mortgage measures".

An overview of the recent public engagement as part of the wider framework review was also included, the minutes said, noting three listening events took place in July, while there had been 4,107 responses to an online survey.