Under-25s faring the worst from cost of living crisis, new data shows

New data from credit bureau Centrix has found the current cost of living crisis is not impacting Kiwis equally - with under-25s faring the worst.

The data shows it's those aged between 18 and 24 who have experienced the worst increase in stress - based on how many are behind in their debt repayments.

On the flip side, consumers aged 50 and over are faring better - with lower levels of arrears than pre-pandemic.

"While arrears have been rising across all age groups, it appears the younger generations are struggling the most," Centrix's July credit indicator said.

The outlook also wasn't bright for New Zealand businesses, Centrix chief executive Keith McLaughlin said.

"There has been a climb in credit defaults across the board in July 2023, with company liquidations up 36 percent year-on-year.

"It's clear business owners in construction, retail trade, hospitality, property/rental and more are all feeling the pinch of this current economic climate."

Home loan arrears, meanwhile, were up 34 percent from the same time last year - although down 1.32 percent month-on-month.

"There are 19,400 mortgage accounts past due… as more consumers face the challenges of rising interest rates and the current economic climate," said Centrix. "The highest mortgage arrears were recorded in the Ōpōtiki district (2.92 percent), followed by the Waitomo district (2.79 pct) and the Far North district (2.73 pct).

There were, however, signs New Zealanders were adjusting to the tough economic environment, McLaughlin said.

"For example, we saw a downturn in overall arrears figures in June 2023," he said.

"Consumer arrears fell slightly month-on-month in June 2023 to 11.4 percent of the credit active population (down from 11.7 percent in May 2023), with the number of people behind on repayments now 414,000. 

"While largely remaining up year-on-year, there have been slight improvements month-on-month across most major categories including personal loans, buy now pay later products, credit cards and vehicle loans."