Households paying down bank debts and saving more

Irish households are continuing to pay down their debts to the banks and are saving marginally more, new figures show.

The total credit to households outstanding on the balance sheets of the main banks was down 1.5% in the first quarter of 2013, or 3.7% in the year to the end of March.

Figures from the Central Bank show that the total credit outstanding stood at just over €100bn at the end of March.

The total amount of loans outstanding to private households, including loans that have been securitised and continue to be serviced by resident credit institutions, stood at €141.8bn at the end of March.

Loans for house purchases were down 1.9% in the year to the end of March.

The decline for the first quarter stood at 0.8%, the 13th consecutive quarterly decline in loans for house purchases, and the largest quarterly decline since the end of June 2010.

Variable rate, trackers or one year fixed-rate mortgages accounted for 92% of all outstanding loans for house purchases on balance sheets at the end of March.

Total deposits held in resident credit institutions by Irish private households was €87.2 billion at end-March 2013.

That represented a quarterly increase of 0.2% and an annual increase of 0.3%.