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Mortgage Surge Pushes Canada Consumer Debt to $1.7 Trillion
A surge in mortgage borrowing is pushing consumer debt loads higher in Canada despite falling credit card use, as households plow more money into their homes while spending less on everything else. New mortgage borrowing rose 41% in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2020, when the pandemic began, according to a release Tuesday from consumer credit reporting firm Equifax Inc.
Excluding mortgages, the size of the average consumer’s debt in Canada fell 4.2% in the first quarter from the year before, to C$20,430, while non-mortgage delinquencies dropped 22% in the same period, Equifax data show.
Mortgage delinquencies are themselves at an all-time low, though one notable exception is Canada’s most expensive housing market, Vancouver, which in the first quarter saw a 14.6% increase in the rate of delinquencies 90 days or longer.
Toronto’s housing market recorded its second consecutive month of slowing sales in May, as reduced supply and a lingering lockdown to contain the coronavirus helped to cool off the market.
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