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Over 700 NAMA properties have so far been identified as being suitable for use as social housing. Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Nearly 700 NAMA units being provided suitable for social housing - minister

Jan O’Sullivan says over 2,000 properties have been appraised for their suitability – and only half are fit for use as social housing.

CLOSE TO 700 housing units under the control of the National Asset Management Agency have been provided for use as social housing, a junior minister has said.

Planning minister Jan O’Sullivan has told the Dáil that NAMA was ahead of schedule in identifying housing units which were suitable for use as social housing facilities, having pledged last December to provide 2,000 units for social housing this year.

“To date over 2,000 units have been examined with a view to determining their sustainability for social housing having regard to local demand, the nature of the accommodation and sustainable community principles,” the minister said, replying to written questions from Pearse Doherty.

Of that number, 697 were deemed unsuitable by housing authorities, while another 344 properties had been withdrawn however in some of these cases, a smaller number of units from the development concerned may be considered for leasing purposes.

“A further 344 have been withdrawn, usually by property owners, as circumstances have changed,” the minister said, saying that in some of these cases the properties had either been sold on, or rented out on the open market.

“Discussion and negotiation has commenced in respect of nearly 700 properties involving approved housing bodies, local authorities, the property owners, financial institutions, receivers and other relevant parties,” the minister explained.

O’Sullivan said there was currently a demand for over 1,000 available units, and that those applications were being processed, though it was not possible to predict exactly what price the State would pay to lease those units.

“I can say that the current average annual cost of units leased from the private or voluntary sector under the leasing scheme generally is approximately €7,400.”

Assuming the plan continues, the State is likely to begin assigning tenants to the properties in the second half of this year.

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