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Typical household wealth has risen to €184,900 - but renters are losing out


Stock photo: PA

Stock photo: PA

Stock photo: PA

The wealth of households has shot up due to rising property values.

But renters have very little wealth, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office.

And there has been another fall in home ownership rates in the country.

The net wealth of the typical household is now €184,900, up 80pc since 2013.

The year 2013 was a low point of the recession and coincided with a number of austerity budgets.

Statisticians define net wealth as property and other assets such as savings and vehicles, less debts like mortgages and credit card balances.

However, critics insist that the net wealth figures merely reflect paper wealth, and point out that people cannot live off equity in their homes.

For those who own their home, their net wealth has been calculated at some €287,000.

But renters have a net wealth of just €6,000.

The survey of 5,000 people by the CSO is one of the most comprehensive undertaken.

It looks at median net wealth, or the middle or typical, wealth of households. This is regarded as more accurate than looking at averages.

The CSO found that close to seven out of 10 households own their own homes.

This is down from 80pc as recently as 1991, reflecting a fall in home ownership during that time.

Falls in home ownership are a key election issue with various parties making promises that they will make it easier to buy a home if elected.

The median value of homes was €250,000 in 2018.

Since 2013 the value of homes has risen by €100,000, a 66pc increase, the CSO said.

Those under the age of 35 are least likely to own a home, with a third of them owner occupiers.

When it comes to those over the age of 65, some 86pc own their home, the CSO Household Finance and Consumption Survey found.

Huge numbers of households have savings.

Surveyors found that 94pc of households have a savings account in a bank or credit union, with the median value found to be €5,000.

And the majority of those who are unemployed have savings, but they typically have around €2,500 in deposits.

Renters have just €1,900 in savings.

More than half of households have debts, but the figure has fallen sharply since 2013, the last time the survey was completed.

For those with debt, the median value has dropped by €20,000 to €42,300.

The most indebted are families with children under the age of 18. Seven out of 10 of these families owe money.

But just 13pc of the over 65s in a one-adult household are in debt.

The average credit card debt has been calculated at €1,400.

A typical household has an overdraft of €800 and €6,000 in other debts, such as those to buy a car.

CSO staff said the median mortgage debt is €148,000.

However, negative equity has been largely wiped out. Just 4pc of households are in a situation where their home is worth less than the money owed on it.

This compares with 32pc who were in negative equity in 2013.

Wealthier households were more likely to receive an inheritance or a gift.

More than two-thirds of the wealthiest 10pc of households were in receipt of a substantial inheritance or gift.

However, this fell to just over one-tenth for the 10pc of households with the lowest net wealth.

The survey also found a wide disparity in wealth between the top 10pc and bottom 10pc of households.

The wealthier households hold most of the wealth.

The wealthiest 10pc of households have a median wealth calculated at €835,000, compared with wealth of just €1,000 for the bottom 10pc.

The survey found that households with the highest net wealth are found in the eastern and midlands region.

There are some 1.8 million households in the country.

The CSO explained that 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.

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