Irish households are continuing to pay down their debts, according to newly released figures from the Central Bank.
Despite this the bank’s quarterly financial accounts for the last three months of 2011 show that the amount of money the government owes has reached its high ever level.
Households have been steadily reducing their debts over the past three years, according to the Central Bank, with €27 billion paid down during that period.
The amount households now owe stands at €184.5 billion, according to today’s figures. That works out at an average of €41,169 per head.
The good news is, however, that the total wealth of Irish households far exceeds what is owed with the net worth estimated at €457 billion.
Average net wealth per capita – that is what we own less what we owe – works out at €101,962. That is described as a crude average though as some people have a lot more wealth while others have a lot less.
Overall the net wealth of Irish households has fallen by 37% since the peak in 2007, mostly as a result of falling house values. However, the Central Bank insists that that fall has been partly offset by the steady repayment of debt and a small rise in financial assets.