Under budget: Nama chief Brendan McDonagh

Nama has had approaches for some assets in Dublin that the banks had claimed they couldn't sell. The asset management agency was offered yields of 7% to 8% by property funds and private equity houses for the investment properties, which were still on the banks' books, while at the same time the banks were telling them that no buyer could be found.

Development sources said British Land, London & Regional, Patron Capital and Credit Suisse are amongst those looking for properties at present, while Lend Lease is interested in some development land.

Nama is not expected to sell off any of the assets or loans transferred to them until 2011.

If and when a developer goes bust and the property is transferred to Nama, then in some cases it will invite proposals from up to five developers, asset managers or builders with a view to creating joint ventures on the properties. Nama expects to start going to court in September to liquidate developers whose businesses are grossly insolvent and incapable of trading their way out of difficulties.

According to sources, Nama found the developers were "only project facilitators" in some cases, and that it would be happy to work directly with contractors when the developer goes out of business.

The fact that 65% of loans transferred to Nama in the first tranche were classified as investment loans is slightly misleading, sources said, because it includes residential properties that have been let and commercial buildings rented out on short leases. The haircut on those loans was therefore significantly higher than it was on the vanilla investment properties let on long leases.

Nama has also found that the ghost estates are mainly a problem for developers and property syndicates who came late to the game, with very few big developers suffering from the problem.

Meanwhile, the cost to Nama for its professional fees is expected to come in well below expectations. Sources said the competitive nature of the bidding, combined with international interest, meant they are now likely to come in at 60% of the budgeted €240m for this year.