Ontarians, seniors taking on more debt

Equifax reports that most borrowers are managing well

Ontarians, seniors taking on more debt
Steve Randall
Consumer debt across Canada climbed to $1.769 trillion in the second quarter of 2017 compared to a year earlier, Equifax Canada reports.

The figure, which includes mortgages, is 6.2% higher year-over-year. Excluding mortgages, the average consumer debt increased to $22,595.

Driving the increase in debt is Ontario which, excluding mortgages, increased by 5.1% in the second quarter while Saskatchewan (1.7%) and Alberta (1.8%) showed the lowest increases in the country.

The data shows that most borrowers are managing their debt well though with Ontario showing an 8.1% decrease in the delinquency rate; PEI showed a 10.6% decline; and BC was down 9.8%.

"Even in the face of potential increase of interest rates, consumers across the country continue to borrow and spend to some degree. Their overall ability to pay back this money on time remains stable though. As interest rates gradually rise, and borrowing costs increase, this trend may be impacted over time," explained Regina Malina, Senior Director of Data & Analytics at Equifax Canada.

Canada’s seniors had the highest increase in average debt in Q2 (4.3%) while millennials had the lowest increase (1.7%). However, those aged 65+ continue to manage their debt well with the delinquency rate down 7.3% for that group compared to a 5.3% decrease for millennials. All age groups saw a lower rate of delinquencies.