Sunday 28 February 2010

City council cannot sell €30m worth of houses

THE country's biggest local authority has been left with almost €30 million worth of houses that it cannot sell.

The houses, part of the affordable homes scheme, were built to allow people on smaller salaries to get a foot on the property ladder.

However, owing to the crash in property values and in the economy as a whole, Dublin City Council has been left with 197 homes that it cannot sell, even at prices significantly below market values.

The homes, which range in price from €115,000 to €280,000, are located across the city in areas such as Drumcondra, Finglas and Dublin 8.

The city council said it could not put a price on the value of the unsold properties but a conservative estimate of the stock is €30m, on the basis that each property is worth an average of €150,000.

A spokesman for the council said five of the houses were under negotiation for sale and that other options for the affordable homes were being considered.

"The plan obviously is to sell them but, as everybody knows, the market is slow and that applies across all aspects of it," the spokesman said.

"We may look at a rent-to-buy scheme in the near future because interest at the moment is slow and that is reflecting the general housing market.

"It is hard to give an accurate figure for how much the properties are worth as some of them involved land exchanges with developers."

Sales of affordable homes almost halved in 2009 when 215 units were sold compared to a high of 407 in 2008.

Some of the properties are in highly desirable locations with one- and two-bedroom apartments for sale in the Heuston South Quarter development.

One- and two-bedroom apartments, starting at €200,000 are also for sale near Grace Park Road in Drumcondra, Dublin City Council said.

Sunday Tribune

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