By Orla May, Merxe Tudela and Garry Young of the Bank's MacroPrudential Risks Division.
This article summarises the main results of a survey carried out for the Bank in September 2004 about household borrowing, housing wealth and attitudes to debt. The survey was designed to provide a comprehensive, up-to-date picture of household indebtedness. It found significant differences between homeowners and renters: renters are more likely to have debt problems, but their share of total household debt is small. The vast majority of debt is owed by homeowners, very few of whom (by historical standards) show signs of having problems at present. While 40% of total outstanding household debt is owed by those spending more than a quarter of their gross income on servicing their debts, the share of debt owed by those currently with debt problems is lower than a decade ago.