Over half of Irish households have some sort of debt - CSO

Irish households are now 80% wealthier than they were at the low point of the recession.

Over half of Irish households have some sort of debt - CSO

Irish households are now 80% wealthier than they were at the low point of the recession.

New data released by the CSO shows that the median household wealth is now €184,900, an 80.2% increase since 2013 when this was €102,600.

It is just the second time the CSO has conducted the household finance and consumption survey. The first was in 2013.

It is based on combined information "on assets, income and debt levels", according to statistician Stephen Lee.

The results show a significant wealth disparity in Ireland. The wealthiest 10% of households have a net wealth of more than €835,000, while the bottom 10% have a net wealth of less than €1,000.

Net wealth is calculated as the value of assets minus debt. Household value is a key component of wealth.

In Ireland, 69.5% of households own their own residence.

"The median net wealth of households that own their own home is €287,300 while for renters it is considerably less at €5,900," Mr Lee said.

Almost one-third — 32.7% — of households reported they received an inheritance or substantial gift at some time in the past.

This increases in the case of wealthier households. More than two-thirds of the wealthiest 10% have received a substantial inheritance or gift in comparison to 10.3% of the 10% with the lowest net wealth.

More than half (51.5%) of households have some form of debt, including mortgages, loans, credit cards and overdrafts.

In 2013, this was 56.8%. Overall, the median value of debt for those households that have debt has dropped by over €20,000 since 2013, from €63,000 to €42,300.

In 2013, a total of 31.9% of homes owned with a mortgage were in negative equity. This is now 3.9%.

The figures show the importance of homeownership in wealth, according to Brokers Ireland.

"Many who would traditionally have expected to buy their own homes have not been able to do so, in some cases for the best part of a decade. Yet they are paying rents at far higher rates than it would cost to service a mortgage. That is a big loss of time in terms of financial planning," Rachel McGovern, director of financial services at Brokers Ireland, said.

Almost 40% of households reported that regular expenses are less than half the household income, allowing them to save.

For those saving regularly, 53% said they are saving for unexpected events, 42% for travels and holidays, and 33% said it is for education.

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