Canadian household debt loads hit record territory this year, surpassing even levels south of the border. A new Statistics Canada paper <http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=14777983&msgid=371287&act=G0OG&c=191858&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.statcan.gc.ca%2Fpub%2F11-008-x%2F2011001%2Farticle%2F11430-eng.pdf> out last Thursday sheds some light on just who’s most indebted and why.
First, the aggregate numbers: household debt for Canadians more than doubled between 1984 and 2009 – from $46,000 to $110,000, largely due to mortgage debt. Growth has accelerated even faster since 2002 (it’s continued to climb this year, though economists expect the rate of accumulation will slow as borrowing costs rise).
The paper, by senior analyst Matt Hurst, lists several reasons for the surge. Some are familiar – low interest rates and a cultural shift to consumerism. Others include increased demand in the housing market from the boomers, heightened competition and deregulation in the banking sector, new financial products, more relaxed credit constraints and more women in the workforce.
More than three quarters, or 76%, of Canadians carried debt in 2009 and, among those who did, the average load was $119,000.
Click here <http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=14777983&msgid=371287&act=G0OG&c=191858&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theglobeandmail.com%2Freport-on-business%2Feconomy%2Feconomy-lab%2Fdaily-mix%2Fyounger-families-most-snared-by-debt%2Farticle1994548%2F> to read more in the Globe and Mail.