Ireland's NAMA agency warns of housing shortage
* Property prices rising, five years after crash
* Evidence of shortage in some urban pockets
DUBLIN, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Ireland is facing a shortage of housing in key areas even as it recovers from a 2008 property crash that devastated the economy, a senior executive from the state's National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) said on Wednesday.
House prices are beginning to rise again in Ireland, five years after a crash fuelled by easy lending saw property values plummet by more than half.
Houses in Dublin are being sold for 8 percent more than a year ago. Prices in some affluent parts have risen even faster, fuelling concerns that a bubble could again be developing in the capital.
"Watch this space - there is a housing issue for sure," John Mulcahy, NAMA's head of asset management, told a conference.
NAMA is one of the world's largest property groups having purged local banks of 74 billion euros of risky loans. Mulcahy said he saw clear evidence of a scarcity of supply, noting there were now a third fewer properties available to rent in Dublin compared with a year ago.
NAMA has very few prime three- or four-bedroom houses in Dublin but is currently renting out over 10,000 apartments which Mulcahy said would be sold in due course.
The former head of Jones Lang LaSalle Inc's Irish operations said there had been a big increase in demand for NAMA's stock of agricultural land and continued interest from international investors in the Irish market.
NAMA announced on Tuesday that it planned to sell two property portfolios worth up to 400 million euros ($540 million) in the coming weeks.
A pick up in the domestic market would be encouraging for Irish public finances, which funded the 32 billion euros NAMA paid for the loans. Mulcahy said the so-called "bad bank" remained confident of repaying the state in full.
"We are fully on target to pay off all our debt by 2020, I won't stick my neck out and say we'll cruise it but we'll get there," Mulcahy said.
Ireland is due to complete an EU/IMF bailout later this year. It was forced to seek help from international lenders after the property crash left its banks massively under-capitalised.
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