Social Housing

Will NAMA deliver on promise of 20,000 houses by 2020?

With recent media articles publishing statements from the Nation Asset Management Agency (NAMA) on its plans to return a surplus of €3.5 billion to the Exchequer by 2020, it is worth assessing how likely their target for 20,000 new houses realistically is.

Based on the end of year report by NAMA, the state agency has reportedly generated €3.3 billion last year bringing the total generated since its creation in late 2009 to €44 billion. This news story was accompanied by a statement from their Chief Executive Brendan McDonagh stating that the agency had enjoyed “another very successful year”.

NAMA have made a commitment to fund the delivery of new homes throughout Ireland, it has been reported that 9,700 houses have been built as a result of NAMA funding between 2014 and 2018. Construction in currently under way on 3,000 homes, and planning permission received for an additional 6,400 houses.

The rate of social houses being developed has reduced significantly over the last few years. NAMA has delivered 2,456 social houses from 2012 to the end of 2017. This only increased to just 2,475 by the end of 2018. This has resulted in social homes being provided for approximately 8,000 people.

Media reports have stated that NAMA is only able to transfer the stock it inherited after the financial crisis into social housing, therefore its ability to supply social houses to local authorities will not continue at the same rate.

NAMA have gone on record and stated that they have invested €350 million in remediating, completing and purchasing properties for social housing use. Many of these social houses are situated in former unfinished “ghost” housing estates and NAMA has reduced the number of these estates on its books from 33 in 2010 to four at the end of 2018.

Although there have been some positive developments with social housing projects over the last few years, there is still much that needs to be done. The media spotlight on homeless families in Ireland over recent years has highlighted the housing crisis that Ireland is currently experiencing.

The target of 20,000 houses promised by NAMA are essential with a dramatic increase in housing needed over the next ten years to accommodate our ever-growing population. The probability of these houses being delivered looks very unlikely.