Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Wilson wants NAMA input to avoid commercial property sell-off

Northern Ireland's interests must be represented in the Irish bad bank plan, the Finance Minister has said.

Politicians in the province have been concerned that commercial property prices could be depressed further if the Republic's National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) rapidly off-loads its northern assets.

Mr Wilson told the Assembly |he had put forward names of individuals from his department and the markets who could sit on the NAMA advisory council.

“One thing is clear, Minister (Brian) Lenihan and myself have agreed that it is in no one's interest to have a fire sale of assets located in Northern Ireland.”

NAMA is intended to manage Irish bad debts and allow banks to start lending again.

Initial estimates suggested the value of loans NAMA might take over could be around €90bn (£81bn), with a considerable element of that in Northern Ireland.

The intention is to unwind the crashed property market in an orderly way and allow the Republic's banks to start lending again.

The plan involves the government buying property loans at a discount, then managing them in such a way that the Irish taxpayer will at least break even on the deal over about 10 years.

Mr Wilson met Mr Lenihan in September to discuss the impact NAMA may have on Northern |Ireland's property market.

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