Family balance sheets are on the mend but paying down debts is a long slog
Here's the good news: when all Irish households add up the value of everything they own, and subtract everything they owe, their collective worth surpassed the half-a-trillion-euro mark at the end of last year. That is a very big number, and it is up almost €60bn on the recent low point, plumbed in 2012.
Here's the bad news: accumulated household wealth is still 30pc below its peak in 2007. That amounts to wealth destruction of €215bn, considerably more than a full year's GDP.
These figures on Irish wealth in the final quarter of last year, published last week by the Central Bank, received little attention and, curiously, receive much less attention than the quarterly national income figures (GDP, GNP, etc). But wealth is as least as important as income. One reason it is important is because of the impact changes in wealth have on the real economy.