Belfast Telegraph

Average Northern Ireland household owes £8k

The average Northern Ireland household owes £8,159 in debt on top of their mortgage, according to a new report.

And across the UK, the rising cost of student borrowing meant households sank further into debt this year for the first time since the financial crisis, according to PwC's Precious Plastic report.

UK households' non-mortgage debt grew by 4% in 2013 to £216bn, marking the first increase for five years and taking the average sum families owe to £8,159.

But taking student debt out of the figures wiped £2,259 off the typical amount households owe, bringing the average amount to £5,900, meaning that underlying consumer debt remained flat.

Ian McConnell, PwC's financial services partner in Belfast, said: "The average household has paid off a quarter of their debt since 2008 – that's a big milestone, which suggests we are changing our ways and are focusing on paying off what we owe and saving more for the future.

"Although student loans are provided on very favourable rates and repayment terms, this significant increase in student debt is likely to have profound effects on graduates' future borrowing and consumption patterns."

The report estimated students who started university in 2012 will on average graduate with £40,000-£50,000 worth of debt, which is likely to have a big impact on future generations' financial habits and could crush dreams of getting on the property ladder.

It also said young people appear "readier to save and more reluctant to borrow"than older peers.

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