Wealth of Ireland's richest exceeds €788k, while poorest 10% has €600

Wealth of Ireland's richest exceeds €788k, while poorest 10% has €600

The figures show a large disparity between people who own their home and those who rent.

The bottom 10% of Irish households have a net wealth of less than €600, compared to the richest 10% whose wealth exceeds €788,400.

The figures for 2020, produced by the Central Statistics Office, show a large disparity between the net wealth of households that own their home and those who rent

For households who own their home, their median net wealth was €309,300. For renters, their net household wealth was €5,300.

Households in the east and midlands had a higher median net wealth — the value of all your assets minus debts — of €223,000 compared to the south of the country, which had a median wealth of €181,000.

The CSO's Household Finance and Consumption Survey collates data on the combined asset, income and debt levels of Irish households.

CSO statistician Stephen Lee said: “The median value is obtained by arranging all households in ascending order from the smallest to the largest value and then selecting the middle value. 

"In terms of wealth, the median provides a truer reflection of the average household as it is not influenced by extreme values.” 

Mortgages and income

The statistics show three in 10 households (30.4%) had a mortgage on their main residence, but just two in 10 (21.3%) households where the main person referenced was aged under 35 had a mortgage. This rose to 53.2% of households where the reference person was aged between 45 and 54.

A household’s income, also unsurprisingly, dictated whether they would have a mortgage, with just 6.2% in the bottom fifth of income distribution having one compared to 62.3% for the top 20%. Some 7.2% of households have a mortgage on another property.

The survey also detailed the proportion of households in Ireland with:

  • Savings: 96.6% 
  • Household main residence (HMR): 69.6% 
  • HMR mortgage debt: 30.4% 
  • Non-mortgage loan: 45.5% 
  • Vehicle: 79.1% 
  • Shares: 10.5% 
  • Credit card debt: 26.8% 
  • Overdraft: 6.7% 

Credit and debt

Over a quarter of households have credit card debt but this goes up to 36.5% for households with two adults and one to three children under the age of 18.

Households with children have the highest rates of debt, with almost nine in 10 (87.9%) of households with two adults and one to three children under 18 having debt. Under three in 10 (27.1%) adults over the age of 65 are in debt.

Just over one in 20 (6.4%) of households were described as credit constrained in 2020.

The CSO said that such a household is one which has been refused credit, did not have the full amount requested, or didn’t apply for credit due to the perceived refusal in the three years preceding the interview date.

More than half (53.1%) of households reported earning more than they spent in the 12 months prior to being interviewed for the survey.

The most common reasons listed for saving were preparing for the unexpected (59.8%), old-age provision (38.1%), travel or holidays (31.5%) and education/support of children or grandchildren or other relatives (31.1%).

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