Luxury flats to be set aside for social housing...
THEY once had a price tag of almost €1.5m each but now a set of luxury apartments nestled in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains are being sold for an average of just €177,500.
And instead of attracting Celtic Tiger cubs, some of the high-end dwellings are being set aside for social housing.
A total of 58 apartments in the Beacon South Quarter, Sandyford, which are in NAMA, have been purchased by the voluntary housing body Cluid.
The apartments, which were built at the height of the boom, have views over Dublin and are serviced by the M50 and the Luas.
They were bought from a receiver appointed by NAMA to the development company Landmark Enterprises.
It is the first such deal between NAMA and a voluntary body and will see 34 of the apartments going to people on the social housing list for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown local authority.
The remaining 24 will be rented through the private market.
Three-quarters of the €10.3m needed to purchase the apartments was provided by the State-owned Housing Finance Agency (HFA).
The rest of the funding came from Cluid's own resources and the Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF), a new facility created to support the acquisition of new homes using funding from financial institutions.
Cluid director of operations Neil Bolton said the deal represented a sea change in how social housing was funded.
"In the past, it was the norm for projects developed by voluntary bodies like Cluid to be 100pc grant-funded through Exchequer sources, but this is no longer an option," he revealed.
"The recession has forced us to explore different ways to fund the delivery of new social housing. Public funds are extremely scarce, but demand for social housing continues to grow."
The new occupants of the Beacon South Quarter apartments will receive the keys for their homes in the autumn.
Report by Kevin Keane - Irish Independent