Household debt falls

THE total amount owed by Irish households has hit its lowest level since 2008, new figures show.

Household debt dropped to €176.9bn at the end of September 2012 -- compared to €203.6bn at the end of 2008.

New data from the Central Bank also shows that the wealth of Irish households grew by €11bn in the July-September period.

According to the bank, the fall in debt levels and the rise in the value of households' assets were factors in the improved figure.

Separately, new data shows that lending for house purchases dropped by 1.6pc last year and a further 10pc for consumption and other purposes. Irish firms also saw a decline in lending of 3.6pc over the 12 month period.