Household debt rises for just second time since crash

Central Bank figures show total household debt stood at €141.8 billion in third quarter

Irish households remained the fourth most indebted in the European Union behind Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. Photograph: Getty Images/Rubberba

Irish households remained the fourth most indebted in the European Union behind Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. Photograph: Getty Images/Rubberba

 

Household debt increased for only the second time since the crash in the third quarter of last year, new Central Bank of Ireland figures show.

Total household debt stood at €141.8 billion at the end of September, or €29,592 per capita, which was €76 million up on the previous quarter.

Household debt rose rapidly from 2003 to 2008, driven mainly by large increases in mortgage debt. It reached a peak of €204.2 billion in the third quarter of 2008. Since then, it has fallen by more than 30 per cent.

Despite the improvement, Irish households remained the fourth most indebted in the European Union behind Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Disposable income

Nonetheless, debt as a proportion of disposable income, a key gauge of debt sustainability, continues to improve in tandem with economic recovery, falling by 1.7 points to 140.2 per cent in the third quarter.

The figures show household net worth increased by 4 per cent over the three-month period, largely reflecting rising property values.

As a result, total net worth stood at €712.4 billion, the equivalent of €148,655 per capita.

Net worth is now just 1 per cent lower than its peak in the second quarter of 2007.