During yesterday’s Dail debates on Budget 2018, Independent TD Mick Wallace brought up the 2016 sale of Tallaght Cross West to a foreign vulture fund as an example of NAMA ineptitude and questioned why the state body sold property at knock down prices while the country suffers a housing crisis.
Deputy Wallace said NAMA has “no experience in the property game or housing” and that it is suffering a mass exodus of staff “because its name is muck now and they do not want anything to do with it.”
“I will outline part of the problem. Tallaght Cross West went sale agreed in January 2016. NAMA sold the 442 apartments of the development to I-RES REIT.
“They worked out at about €100,000 each, whereas the average new house in Dublin today costs €460,000. The full price of the sale was €83 million.
“There was €40 million worth of commercial property and €42 million worth of residential property in the sale.
“What are these fellas doing with it?
“They are probably renting them and they will sell them for a bomb when they feel like it.”
Deputy Wallace went on to question why NAMA (The State) is providing money to build projects that they then sell to foreign vulture funds:
“What a great idea. That will really solve the housing crisis.
“I put out a press statement last Friday about a site on Castleforbes Road in the Docklands, the Northbank apartment block.
“There are 46 empty apartments in the development and NAMA has them. NAMA has just bought seven it did not already control. There are 124 apartments in the whole development.
“It bought the last seven so it could control the whole development and put it on the market to get a vulture fund to buy it
“Why would we want to give apartments to vulture funds when we have a housing crisis?
“Will anyone in the Government ask NAMA why there were 46 empty units in that complex?
“Some of them have been empty for three years. This is nonsense.
“Does the Government want to fix the housing crisis?
“One would be unwell just thinking about it. It breaks my heart.”
The Wexford TD also accused the Government of “retrofitting a big screw-up” by previous Minister for Finance Michael Noonan who created a system that encouraged the REIT’s (Real Estate Investment Trust) to come in and “buy up all the distressed property for peanuts from NAMA and the banks” and:
“Get a cartel controlling influence over the rental market in Dublin.
“That is what they have today – the REITs: I-RES REIT, Hibernia REIT and God knows what next.
“We now have huge foreign money controlling our rental market. Is that a good idea?”