New Zealand households are heavily indebted by historical and international standards. Up to their necks in debt, you might say, if not up to their nostrils.

Households with a mortgage started the year, the Reserve Bank tells us, with debt levels 3.23 times their disposable (after-tax) income. For all households the ratio was 1.64 times.

Both measures are the highest we have seen since at least the start of the millennium when these metrics stood at 1.92 and 1.01 times respectively.


When household debt is measured against the size of the economy it is a similar story.

The Bank