A March 3, 2015 report by credit reporting firm Equifax indicates that Canadians are taking on more and more debt, despite an uncertain economy with total consumer debt including mortgages rose to $1.529 trillion at the end of 2014. This represents a 7.7 per cent increase from $1.42 trillion at the end of 2013, including a 1.1 per cent increase in the latest quarter alone.
Almost two-thirds of that $1.529 trillion figure consists of mortgage debt, as Canadians now collectively owe almost $1 trillion on their houses.
Overall, Canadians debt-to-income ratios, a closely watched metric that attempts to gauge how easy it is to pay down debt, sits at an all-time high of 163 per cent.
Despite concerns about consumer debt, the 90-day-plus delinquency rate has remained the same or declined in most regions, coming in at 1.09 per cent nationally in the fourth quarter, the lowest since 2008 while bankruptcy filings remain muted.
Meanwhile as Canadian consumers continue to pile on debt with unadulterated indifference a recent report from the McKinsey Global Institute says that between 2007 and mid-2014, only one country had larger growth in household debt than Canada ; Greece. Now that’s comforting.