Debt-to-income load lightens slightly, but Canadians still piling on mortgage debt

Canadians owed $ 1.67 in consumer credit, mortgages and non-mortgage loans for every dollar of household disposable income in the first quarter of 2017, a slight quarterly decrease as household net worth rose from the end of 2016.

That ratio still increased on an annual basis, however. In the first quarter of 2016, Canadians owed about $ 1.64 per dollar of disposable income, according to Statistics Canada’s latest quarterly report on the national balance sheet.

Economists and Bank of Canada officials have warned about the dangers of increasing levels of household debt.

The value of non-financial assets rose 1.7 per cent on a quarterly basis and 7.7 per cent annually, which Statistics Canada attributed to a strong real estate market.

Total mortgage debt reached $ 1.341 trillion in the quarter, compared to consumer credit debt of $ 595.3 billion.

“The historically low interest rate environment prevailing since 2008 has allowed the household sector to increase mortgage principal payments,” wrote Statistics Canada.

“At the end of the first quarter, the portion that households spent on mortgage principal payments exceeded that spent on mortgage interest payments — the first time this has happened since these statistics were first compiled for the first quarter of 1990.”

Household income grew 0.9 per cent quarter-over-quarter, outpacing the 0.7 per cent quarterly growth in household credit market debt.

Per capita, Canadian household net worth was $ 287,700 in the first three months of the year. Household sector net worth rose 2.2 per cent in the quarter to $ 10.533 trillion at market value, as the value of financial assets increased.

Household net worth captures the value of financial and non-financial assets, including housing, mutual funds, and bank deposits excluding liabilities.

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CBC | Top Stories News

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