Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Monday, 6 July 2009 17:27 UK

Fears of property price nosedive

Irish taoiseach Brian Cowen
Brian Cowen is concerned about the number of NI properties taken over

Property prices will nose-dive in NI if the Irish Republic's new toxic assets agency dumps developments on the market, Stormont ministers have warned.

Finance ministers from both sides of the border are to hold emergency talks over fears the north could be swamped with repossessed homes and offices.

The issue was raised at a North-South Ministerial Council meeting in Dublin.

An agency has been set up in Dublin to recoup debt run up by banks on property bought in NI and in the Republic.

The National Assets Management Agency (NAMA) will attempt to recover nationalised bank losses for the Irish government through the selling-off of developments that collapsed during the property crash.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said there were concerns about the number of Northern Ireland properties which will be taken over by NAMA.

'Implications'

"Obviously some of these assets are located in the Republic, in Northern Ireland and other jurisdictions as well," Mr Cowen said.

"It's important that we fully agreed in our discussions that both finance ministers would meet to consider the implications over the period ahead.

"It's obviously a matter of co-ordinating policy decisions."

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson said Finance Minster Sammy Wilson would meet with his counterpart in the Republic, Brian Lenihan, in an attempt to stave off any threat to Northern Ireland's house prices.

"There are assets which are being held by NAMA which impact upon Northern Ireland, those disposals need to be handled in a way that don't swamp the property market and impact adversely on property prices in Northern Ireland," he said.

It is estimated that Irish banks hold anything between 60bn and 90bn euros of so-called toxic assets, the money loaned to property developers and others which might never be repaid.

Around 30bn euros worth are thought to be outside the Republic and as many as 15bn to 20bn euros worth of bad property-related debts are thought to be in Northern Ireland.



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