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An average household now costs a record € 444,000 – but most of the extra wealth is related to real estate




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Household wealth is driven to the highest time thanks to financial market gains and savings, as well as the value of owning a home.

But given that most of the extra wealth is enclosed in the value of houses, the average Irish man, woman or child probably doesn't actually feel richer.

The central bank said that the net worth of households reached EUR 772 billion at the end of the first quarter of this year, equivalent to EUR 158 986 per person or approximately EUR 444 000 per household.

The rise came despite a decline in house prices for two consecutive quarters, which reduced € 2 billion of our collective wealth, the report said.

However, the data represent another important moment in the recovery from the financial crisis and also reflect the rising employment and wages that have helped many households pay off their debts.

Figures from the bank also show us that the signs of the crisis have not been erased.

The crash pushed the state close to bankruptcy and saw nearly 100,000 borrowers fall behind on their mortgage payments.

Household lending is now its lowest level since 2005, falling from EUR 0.6 billion for the quarter to EUR 136.9 billion, or EUR 28 186 per person, a figure equivalent to 119.8 pp. Household income.

The reduction in the loan ratio was aided by a 2.2 pp increase in disposable income, according to a report by the Central Bank,

Household debt peaked at EUR 202.9 billion in the third quarter of 2008 on the eve of the collapse. This was followed by a boom in the years owing to debt, a period of reckless lending from banks and consumer loans.

As a result of the crisis, net worth fell by more than € 18,000 per household between 2011 and 2015, the largest amount in the European Union.

The new rules of the Central Bank here have imposed severe restrictions on mortgage loans and household debt levels are now one-third lower than their peak.

However, the number of the first quarter may be a peak for some time, as many economists say there will be more falls in house prices this year.

In addition, the prospect of interest rates being renewed by the European Central Bank this year seems to be outlined to erode the already existing return on savings deposits.

Meanwhile, stock markets are selling sharply as the global economy slows and the US-China trade war intensifies.

According to the Central Bank, most of the investments held by households are in currency and deposits and in insurance financial products.

Irish Independent


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