Given the volume of US and other international investors kicking tyres on Irish property deals at present, the article on NAMA in today’s Wall Street Journal has both showcase and information value. The Agency will be overall pleased by the assessment.
Benson Elliot, the purchasers of the Grehan’s Arcadia shopping centre in Ealing late last year commend the Agency for being straight and ultimately fair but criticize its performance as cumbersome and slow as a result of internal procedures. NAMA says that it concludes deals in six months which it says is the market norm.
Jones Lang LaSalle which embodies the “we’re second so we try harder” approach that once applied in the car rental business, is also cited. Richard Stanley of JLL is full of plamas for the Agency, which is probably no bad thing given the potential volume of business coming his way. He compliments the teams at NAMA who “really know what they’re up to” and says that NAMA is now finally grasping the nettle and placing property on the market (through companies like Richard’s!). You won’t hear Richard use the language of some developers, dismissing NAMA staff as a bunch of clowns responsible for the crash who now can’t get jobs elsewhere!
I don’t think JLL will be too happy about the way Irish property prices are being presented, with Dr Constantin Gurdgiev quoted as saying “The quality of assets in the pool NAMA holds is continually deteriorating” and even the WSJ says the commercial market is weak citing the overall JLL index. JLL will probably tell you that although commercial property generally continues to decline there has been stabilization in prime property with new leases, and the €600m of investment sales in 2012 is testament to this.
Economist for hire, Peter Bacon whose paper in 2009 led to the creation of NAMA, and whose Treasury Holdings-sponsored report on NAMA last year turned heads – and the odd stomach – is also quoted and he appears to be pressing NAMA to dispose of properties sooner rather than later.