House of Commons Library

Household Debt: Key Economic Indicators

Published Thursday, April 4, 2019

Household debt: Data on the latest household debt statistics, including net lending, mortgage interest rates and insolvencies.

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Household debt as a % of disposable income

Household debt peaked in Q2 2008 at 148% of household disposable income. It then declined to 127% by late 2015.

Growth in household debt levels accelerated from early 2016, so that the debt-to-income ratio rose again to 134% by mid-2017. In Q4 2018 it was 133%.

Household debt

Statistical note: The household debt and income source data were changed in May. Previously debt and income totals included the non-profit sector (mostly charities and universities). The new data reflects only individuals in the household sector. The overall historical trends are unchanged. For more see Box 1 in the Library paper on household debt.

Current average mortgage interest rates

The average Standard Variable Rate (SVR) was 4.31% in February 2019, up slightly from 4.23% a year ago.

The average 2-year fixed mortgage rate was 1.73% in January, up from 1.49% a year ago. 

The increase in fixed-term interest rates in the past year follows the Bank of England raising its base interest rate in November 2017 (from 0.25% to 0.5%). Interest rates were raised again in August 2018 (from 0.5% to 0.75%).

Mortgage interest rates

Individual insolvencies, England and Wales

There were 34,108 individual insolvencies in England and Wales in Q4 2018, up 35% on the previous quarter, and 35% on the same period in 2017. The total number of insolvencies in Q 2018 was the highest since Q1 2010.

In Scotland, there were 3,198 individual insolvencies in Q4 2018, the highest since Q4 2013.

In Northern Ireland, there were 615 individual insolvencies in Q4 2018, up 4% on the quarter.


Commons Briefing papers SN02885

Author: Chris Rhodes

Topics: Economic situation, Financial services, Incomes and poverty

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