THE MINISTER FOR Finance said no government decision has been made yet as to whether the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA) should speed up its sale of Irish assets in order to radically shorten its original ten year time-scale to work out property loans.
Speaking in Brussels, Noonan said he met with the board and management of NAMA two weeks ago in relation to the review of the operation of NAMA.
He explained that under the NAMA Act a review of the agency is to be carried out this year into the operation of the agency.
He said the no decision would be made on the selling of assets until that review is complete.
“In the context of the review I want to look at various options… I haven’t made any decisions yet, but when it comes around to making decisions I want the decisions to be evidence based,” he said.
He said he has asked NAMA “to explore what would be the implications of bringing forward the sale as the market would be able to carry a big sale…”. However, he said he wanted to see the balance sheet and assess the “pros and cons” of bringing forward the sale as against leaving it to the ten year timeline.
He reiterated that no policy decision had been made yet, but a decision will be made after the review
When asked if NAMA were doing enough in relation to the rising Dublin house prices, the minister said that he would like if NAMA could assist more and perhaps assist builders to build new houses “and fill sites in desirable areas,” he said.
“NAMA is just one player, although it is a significant player,” he said, adding that it is confidence and credit that will get the market working properly again.
He said the government is concerned that the market is quite limited and that there is not a great supply.
NAMA is putting around €2 billion of loans on the market this week as part of its sell-off of its Irish portfolio.