Irish net worth per capita was €124,523 in Q3 2014 while household debt per capita was at €34,846, according to the Central Bank today. Meanwhile data published by the CSO last September showed that average earnings in 2013 were at €35,830.
The net national debt of €182bn at the end of December (it is lower than the EU's general government debt metric) was at €39,600 per person.
German per capita standard of living highest in Europe; Ireland below EU average
Household net worth rose by 5.5 % during Q3 2014, largely driven by increases in housing assets. At end-Q3 2014, net worth stood at €574bn or €124,523 per capita.
Household debt fell by €1.9bn during Q3 2014, to €160.6bn or €34,846 per capita with debt as a proportion of disposable income down by 2.4 percentage points, falling to 177 %. The decline largely reflected the reduction in household debt and, to a lesser extent, a slight increase in disposable income of €152m.
Household investment in financial assets totalled €1.2bn during Q3 2014. This was its highest level since Q2 2013.
Non-financial corporation (NFC) debt as a percentage of GDP continued its downward trend during Q3 2014, falling by 1.7 percentage points to reach 190%.
Conall Mac Coille, chief economist at Davy, commented: "Household debt has fallen to 177% of household disposable incomes – the lowest level since Q1 2006. Net worth stood at €574bn, up 28.3% from the trough in Q2 2012. This has reflected rising equity and house prices.
Since the beginning of 2014, the Central Bank’s estimate of the value of housing assets has increased by €45bn, to €389bn, based on the 11.8% rise in the value of the CSO’s residential property price index over that period. The value of households’ financial assets has increased by €17bn to €356bn. Household financial liabilities have fallen by €7bn since the beginning of the year.
Despite the pick-up in net worth, it is clear that households are still choosing to pay down debt at a rapid pace. In the year to December, the stock of bank lending to households fell by 3.7%, split between a 2.7% contraction in mortgage lending and a 7.5% fall in consumer credit. So household debt is likely to fall further in Q4 2014. So far, the pick-up in Irish consumer spending has been driven by employment growth with savings rates remaining high to pay down debt. That said, new lending opportunities are held back by low levels of house building, with just 11,000 completions in 2014."