Canadian Household Debt Continues to Rise

By Andrew Rickard | September 15 2015 01:09PM

Data collected by Statistics Canada shows that household debt increased again during the second quarter of 2015.

Statistics Canada's national balance sheet and financial flow accounts for the second quarter show that per household net worth only increased by 0.9% during the period, which it says is the slowest pace since 2013. When measured per capita, Canadian household net worth now stands at $243,800.

The value of non-financial assets increased by 1.8% in the second quarter, thanks mostly to gains in real estate. However, this was offset by a 1.8% increase in mortgages and other financial liabilities, as well as declines in mutual fund and pension assets. Overall, net financial assets declined by 0.1% during the period. As a result, the ratio of total household debt to total assets has increased to 17.9%.

The household debt burden as measured as a percentage of disposable income also rose from 163.0% to 164.6% in the second quarter. "In other words, there was $1.65 in credit market debt for every dollar of disposable income," explains Statistics Canada. "Disposable income (+0.8%) increased at a slower pace than household credit market debt (+1.8%)."

Statistics Canada says that the household debt service ratio, which is measured as total obligated payments of principal and interest as a proportion of disposable income, stood at 14.1% in the second quarter; this is higher than the historical average of 12.4% recorded between 1990 and 2015.

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