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Household Arrears

Household Arrears

One in ten households have arrears on utility bills

CSO statistical publication, , 11am

Households were asked if they had arrears, i.e. failed to make a payment in time during the 12 months prior to the date of interview due to financial difficulties. These payments included mortgage or rental payments; utility bills; hire purchase instalments, or other loan payments. The answer categories were ‘yes, once’; ‘yes, twice or more’; ‘no’.

Decrease in rent and mortgage arrears

8.3%
of households making mortgage or rent payments
failed to make one or more payments on time in the past 12 months, in 2022
down from 11.0% in 2021

In 2022, of the 55.8% households making mortgage or rent payments, 2.1% failed once and a further 6.1% failed twice or more to make a payment on time in the past 12 months. However, the total proportion in mortgage or rent arrears decreased from 11.0% in 2021 to 8.3% in 2022. See figure 5.1 and table 5.1.

X-axis labelNoYes, twice or moreYes, once
202291.76.12.1
2021898.42.6
202088.674.3
Show Table: Table 5.1 Household arrears on mortgage or rental payments by demographic characteristics and year (% of households)

Increase in utility bill arrears

9.2%
of households with utility bills
failed to make one or more payments on time in the past 12 months, in 2022
up from 7.0% in 2021

Of the 99.5% households indicating they pay utility bills, 9.2%, had arrears on utility bills, with 6.6% failing to make a payment on time twice or more. This is an increase of 2.2 percentage points on the 7.0% of households with utility bills in 2021. See figure 5.2 and table 5.2.

X-axis labelNoYes, twice or moreYes, once
202290.86.62.6
2021935.41.6
202092.55.71.8
Show Table: Table 5.2 Household arrears on utility bills by demographic characteristics and year (% of households)

Decrease in loan arrears

9.5%
of households making hire purchase instalments or other loan payments
failed to make one or more payments on time in the past 12 months, in 2022
down from 10.7% in 2021

Of the 28.7% of households that indicated they have hire purchase instalments or other loan payments, 9.5% had arrears, with 7.6% failing to make a payment on time twice or more in the past 12 months. This is decrease of 1.2 percentage points on the 10.7% of households with loan arrears in 2021. See figure 5.3 and table 5.3.

X-axis labelNoYes, twice or moreYes, once
202290.57.61.9
202189.37.13.6
202089.27.73.1
Show Table: Table 5.3 Household arrears on hire purchase instalments or other loan payments by demographic characteristics and year (% of households)

One in six single-adult households with children have arrears on hire purchase instalments or other loan payments

By household composition, single-adult households with children are the most likely to have missed at least one payment in the past 12 months, while households comprised of two adults with at least one aged 65 or over were the least likely. Of those making the relevant payments, 13.3% of one-adult households with children had arrears on mortgage or rental payments; 16.4% had arrears on utility bills; and 17.8% had hire purchase instalments or other loan payment arrears. See figure 5.4.

X-axis labelArrears on mortgage or rental payments Arrears on utility billsArrears on hire purchase instalments or other loan payments
1 adult aged
65 years and over
12.17.26.5
1 adult aged
less than 65 years
910.311.9
2 adults, at least
1 aged 65 years and over
4.21.50.8
2 adults, both aged
less than 65 years
7.48.85.7
3 or more adults7.44.46.9
1 adult, with children
under 18 years
13.316.417.8
2 adults, with 1-3
children under 18 years
5.615.114.4
Other households with
children under 18 years
1310.23

Decrease in rent and mortgage arrears in 2022

Analysis of arrears on mortgage or rental payments by tenure status, shows that 2.9% of owner-occupied households with an outstanding mortgage failed to make one or more payments on time in the past 12 months due to financial difficulties, compared with 13.4% of rented households. However, both rental and mortgage arrears declined in 2022. The proportion of households in mortgage arrears decreased from 5.3% in 2021 to 2.9% in 2022, while those in rent arrears decreased from 16.2% to 13.4%. It should be noted that payment breaks during the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted 2020 and 2021 estimates.

One in five (20.1%) rented or rent-free households making hire purchase instalments or other loan repayments are in arrears of such payments, compared with one in twenty (5.3%) of owner-occupied households. See figure 5.5.

X-axis labelArrears on mortgage or rental payments Arrears on utility billsArrears on hire purchase instalments or other loan payments
Owner-occupied2.900000000000016.35.3
Rented or rent free13.415.720.1

One in three households living in enforced deprivation have arrears on utility bills

Households living in enforced deprivation are more likely to have arrears on utility bills at 35.4%, compared with 3.4% of those not experiencing deprivation. See figure 5.6.

X-axis labelArrears on mortgage or rental payments Arrears on utility billsArrears on hire purchase instalments or other loan payments
Not experiencing deprivation3.83.400000000000015.2
Experiencing deprivation22.435.422.3