Last updated: 6 March 2017
Fig 1 — Household debt
In the 20 years to 2011, total housing and consumer loan debt increased around six-fold in dollar terms. As a ratio of household disposable income, the percentage at June 2011 of 147% is about two and a half times that of 58% at March 1991. Through the mid-2000s, household debt grew strongly, at an average annual rate of over 14% in the five years to June 2007. The rate of growth slowed sharply from 2007, averaging well under 4% per annum in the four years to June 2011. This deceleration in the rate of growth of household debt arrested the growth in the debt to income ratio from 2007. Falling interest rates have been the main driver of falling interest servicing as a percentage of disposable income from 2008.
Notes on data
- The data is quarterly, averages for the quarter for interest rates and end of quarter for household debt.
- Data is updated in the second month after the quarter for interest rate and debt values. Household disposable income is revised once a year on publication of December debt data. A comprehensive annual survey of all loans to households is conducted at December. The monthly household debt series C6 published by the Bank surveys 99% by value of the household loan totals obtained in the December census survey. Quarterly data totals used here are from table C6, together with imputed values for the remaining 1% of loans by value.
- Using Statistics New Zealand’s household income and outlay account for the year to the previous March, the Bank adds back to disposable income fixed capital consumption and household interest paid. The latest March year estimate is using the growth earnings over the quarter, published in Statistics New Zealand’s Quarterly Employment Survey.