Irish households are now ‘wealthier’ than during the Celtic Tiger boom, says Central Bank… …and two-thirds of it’s down to property price inflation
Ireland’s Central Bank says the net worth of Irish households rose to a record €727 billion last year. The previous record or high was the €720 billion reached in the second quarter of 2007.
Household net worth, calculated as the sum of housing and financial assets minus their liabilities, is now the equivalent of €151,657 per person. The figures show it increased by almost €15 billion in the final quarter of 2017 with half of the increase coming from rising property values.
In 2012 net wealth fell to a post-crash low of €430 billion in the second quarter as unemployment and mortgage arrears soared in the aftermath of the financial crisis. But in the five years since then it increased by 69 per cent. Two-thirds of that increase is due to the rise in property values over the same period, says Ireland’s Central Bank.
Nevertheless, at an average of 137 per cent per home Irish households are among the fourth highest most indebted in the European Union – and at levels last seen in 2005 – although overall household debt did fall back to €151 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017.
The average in the euro area is 94 per cent. Since the peak nominal household debt fell by €61 billion or 29 per cent. The most highly indebted house-holds are in the 35-44 age group while younger Irish people have lower debt levels, on average, than the rest of the euro area.