Household debt

private debt
personal debt

Household debt is defined as all liabilities of households (including non-profit institutions serving households) that require payments of interest or principal by households to the creditors at a fixed dates in the future. Debt is calculated as the sum of the following liability categories: loans (primarily mortgage loans and consumer credit) and other accounts payable. The indicator is measured as a percentage of net household disposable income (OECD, 2021).


Understanding utility hardship

This report examines patterns and trends for different groups of households to better identify the risk factors and early signs of hardship, appropriate support to vulnerable consumers, and whether current safeguards are providing key factors that contribute to effective hardship policy and practice.

Public and private debt: links between debt types for all New Zealanders

Debt takes many forms in an established financial system. This paper focuses on two categories of debt based on who the debt is owed to - public debt (debt owed to the government) and private debt (debt owed to non-government lenders).
Discussion paper

Do Australian households borrow to keep up with the Joneses?

This paper examines whether and how local income inequality affects household debt and its composition using household panel data for Australia from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey.
Discussion paper

The rise in household liquidity

This paper explores the determinants of liquidity across households and over time, using a range of household surveys for Australia. The authors find that household liquidity is strongly associated with life cycle factors, such as age and housing tenure.

Helping households in debt

Much like Australia, household debt is increasing in the United Kingdom. This report examines how the financial impacts of COVID-19 may affect people in different demographic groups and regions, and explores experiences of debt and household finance before and during the pandemic.

Per Capita tax survey 2020

The tenth annual Per Capita tax survey provides an unparalleled insight into the views held by Australians of all ages, from across the country, about the role of tax and public services in our national life. It provides valuable insights to policy makers for the...
Discussion paper

How risky is Australian household debt?

It is often observed that the level of household debt (relative to income) is high in Australia compared with other countries and its own history. Concerns about how this will influence the economy’s ability to navigate a major downturn have for many years been central...
Discussion paper

The effect of mortgage debt on consumer spending: evidence from household-level data

This paper explores the relationship between owner-occupier mortgage debt and spending using detailed panel data on Australian households. It finds evidence consistent with a ‘debt overhang effect’ – households cut back on their spending when they have higher levels of outstanding mortgage debt.

Housing prices, household debt and household consumption

This research investigated the relationship between increasing housing prices (or housing wealth) and the increased consumption expenditure of households from before the GFC and afterwards.

What impact do house prices have on household debt and labour supply in Australia?

The effect of house prices on households’ financial decisions has been an important question facing researchers and policy-makers. Increases in house prices may lead households to take on additional debt, refinance an existing mortgage, or change the composition of the debt held. Studies of labour...

House prices, household debt and labour supply in Australia

The objective of the research presented in this report is to identify the nature and magnitude of the relationship between house prices, household debt and the labour market decisions of Australian households. It is well known that there is a positive relationship among house prices...
Discussion paper

House prices, mortgage debt and labour supply: evidence from Australian households

This Positioning Paper outlines the research questions and methodology for an AHURI research study which utilises HILDA panel data and instrumental variable econometric techniques to interrogate the relationship between housing prices, household debt and labour supply in Australia. It provides preliminary evidence of important differences...

Labour force participation and household debt

In the past decade or so there has been a substantial rise in the indebtedness and debt-servicing obligations of Australian households. This has been accompanied by a trend increase in labour force participation (LFP) for women and more recently for men. Microeconomic data show a...

Has the rise in debt made households more vulnerable?

This paper shows that the major part of the historically high debt level in OECD countries is held by higher-income households, who also spend a smaller proportion of their disposable income servicing debts. Whether the situation remains benign or not is discussed in the final...

Long work hours: volunteers and conscripts

Panel data from Australia are used to study the prevalence of work hours mismatch among long hours workers and, more importantly, how that mismatch persists and changes over time, and what factors are associated with these changes. Particular attention is paid to the roles played...

Consenting adults deficits and household debt: Links between Australia's current account deficit, the demand for imported goods and household debt

A deficit in the current account on the balance of payments has become a usual part of Australia's economic landscape, deficits having been recorded for all but four of the last fifty five years. However, there are two features of the current account deficit (CAD)...
Discussion paper

Property owners in Australia: a snapshot

This paper uses household-level data to examine what determines the ownership of residential property and the holding of property debt by households in Australia.

Household debt in Australia: walking the tightrope

In the 1960s and 1970s Australians were big believers in having a nest egg of savings set away for a rainy day. Since then times have changed. In the ninth AMP/NATSEM Income and Wealth Report, Ann Harding, Simon Kelly and Rebecca Cassells investigate Australians' relationship...

Analysis of expenditure patterns and levels of household indebtedness of public and private rental households, 1975 to 1999

Using ABS Household Expenditure Survey statistics, this study finds, among other things, that real housing costs in Australia increased substantially (32.9 per cent) over the period 1975-99. Purchasers experienced the biggest cost increase (66.2 per cent), followed by private tenants (24 per cent) and outright...
Working paper

Household saving behaviour in Australia

This paper aims to contribute to our understanding of Australian household saving—to consider the motives for Australian household saving and the form in which household savings are held.