TORONTO, March 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Canadian consumer debt levels continue to reach new highs even as 46 per cent of people decreased their personal debt, according to Equifax® Canada’s 2017 Q4 National Consumer Credit Trends Report. Those who added more debt (37 per cent) did so in larger amounts on average, pushing the average debt held by all Canadians up by 3.3 per cent or $22,837 per person.
Excluding mortgages, Canadian consumers owe $1.821 trillion as of Q4 2017, compared to $1.797 trillion in Q3 2017 and $1.718 trillion a year earlier, an increase of 1.3 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively. On a debt classification basis, the installment loan, auto loan and mortgage sectors are showing significant increases of 10.3 per cent, 6.5 per cent and 6.2 per cent year-over-year, respectively.
“Despite the high debt, mortgage payments are generally on time, which could be attributed to low unemployment numbers and mortgage and auto finance interest rates which are still at historically low and reasonable levels,” said Regina Malina, Senior Director of Decision Insights at Equifax Canada. “As the new mortgage rules begin to impact approval rates, there may be a shift in the profile of mortgage customers, and activity in the real estate market, but at this point most people are managing their payments.”
Tracking payments, the 90+ delinquency rate declined by 6.4 per cent and consumer bankruptcies edged lower by 1.7 per cent nationally. Consumers in Newfoundland and Saskatchewan, however, continue to struggle with both delinquencies and bankruptcies, as Alberta recovers. Delinquency is decreasing across all age groups, but most noticeably among those under the age of 25.
Debt (excluding mortgages) & Delinquency Rates
“Millennials have had the highest delinquency rates in terms of age, but we’ve seen a nine per cent reduction in their delinquency rate from a year ago,” said Malina. “Their overall debt has continued to increase, but they seem to be handling their payments better. This situation stresses the importance of financial literacy of younger Canadians. Once again, however, the debt of older Canadians also continues to rise perhaps suggesting Millennials are getting some help.”
Major City Analysis – Debt (excluding mortgages) & Delinquency Rates
Province Analysis - Debt (excluding mortgages) & Delinquency Rates & Bankruptcy Amount
*Data for the Equifax Canada 2017 Q4 National Consumer Credit Trends Report, including scores, is sourced from Equifax Canada, the repository of the majority of credit transactions that occur in Canada. There are over 25 million unique Equifax Canada consumer credit files. Transaction volumes for data are estimated at 105 million per month. Information provided in this report was adjusted to ensure that quarterly data reflects the results as of the last month of each quarter.
Equifax is a global information solutions company that uses unique data, innovative analytics, technology and industry expertise to power organizations and individuals around the world by transforming knowledge into insights that help make more informed business and personal decisions.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. It is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index, and its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. Equifax employs 10,300 employees worldwide.
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