Changes in Irish Households' Finances from 2013 to 2018: Evidence from the Household Finance and Consumption Survey
This paper uses data between 1987 and 2018 from three wealth surveys in Ireland to identify factors driving wealth dynamics in the short and long run. We show that ownership of housing is crucial. Changes in asset prices and mortgage debt also play a role. Inequality rose between 1987 and 2018 due to higher leverage for households in the middle of the wealth distribution and falling homeownership. Increased ownership of financial assets and businesses for wealthier households are also important. Between 2013 and 2018 rising house prices increased wealth particularly for households in negative equity after the financial crisis, contributing to falls in inequality in this period. Household leverage ratios declined substantially up to 2018. On the eve of the COVID-19 crisis households were more financially resilient when compared to their position a decade before at the onset of the financial crisis.