Average consumer non-mortgage debt hits $27,355

Study found the average consumer debt load, excluding mortgages, increased $225 to $27,355 in Q3


TORONTO – A new study shows that non-mortgage debt is continuing to rise in Canada, but at a relatively modest pace, and that low delinquency rates indicate Canadians have so far been able to handle the increase.

The study by credit reporting agency TransUnion says that the average consumer debt load, excluding mortgages, increased $225 to $27,355 in the third quarter.

It says the quarterly increase of 0.83 per cent was in line with the rise observed in second quarter, after a significant decline of two per cent in the first. On a year-over-year basis, total debt increased 2.19 per cent from $26,770 at the end of the third quarter in 2012.

Despite the increase, two of the country’s largest cities —Toronto and Vancouver — both experienced quarterly and yearly declines in average consumer total debt.

Montreal, the country’s second-largest city by population, saw minimal rises on both a quarterly and yearly basis, while the only major city to experience a rise in debt greater than the national average was Edmonton, with total debt rising 4.6 per over the past year.

Meanwhile, TransUnion says delinquency rates, or failure to make good on debt repayment, remains low across all credit products, from credit cards to auto loans.

“The relatively low delinquency levels observed in the third quarter are a positive sign that Canadian consumers are managing their greater debt loads,” said Thomas Higgins, TransUnion’s vice-president of analytics and decision services.

“Credit card delinquencies saw the biggest decline on a percentage basis in the last year, which is a positive as we embark on the final three months of the year when credit card usage tends to pick up.”

Meanwhile, the study showed that the increase in average debt varied throughout Canada, with provinces experiencing year-over-year changes from a low of minus 0.4 per cent in British Columbia to a high of 15.49 per cent in Saskatchewan.

Elsewhere, consumer debt levels fell 0.03 per cent in Ontario, while rising 2.72 per cent in Quebec and 7.46 per cent in Alberta. The report did not give figures for other provinces.

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Average consumer non-mortgage debt hits $27,355

  1. Thanks Harper

    • Why? Did he send you a Christmas card?

    • Typical Canadian idiotic statement for sure. Being in debt isn’t a Harper discipline problem, it is the individual undiciplined blinded by greed problem….of I gotta have that top of the line iPad and goodies for $1000 on 24% credit and will take 10 years to pay it off, making the real cost $3400. Which also means you have to make at least $5000 for the iPad as interest is paid after taxes.

      People who don’t understand this should humble up and seek a personal finance courses like Junior Achievement that teach this stuff. Or just be content and keep paying the banks to cover for undisciplined spending habits.

  2. Undisciplined spending has a high price as all that 24% and up interest on $27,355 of frivolous debt shows a mass stupidity going on. At least $6565 in interest going out the window each year the lack of discipline goes on. Over $500/mo in carry charges….

    Maybe pay up every month in full, wait until you have the money, and you would have over $500 more to spend. But I guess a lot of people are like lemmings jumping off a fiscal cliff.

    Or better yet, avoid $6565 of no value interest and put $5500 in TFSA so in 40 years you have over 1/2 a million of tax paid cash.

    A lot of people are obvious stupid or not thinking clearly.

  3. Numbers can lie. It may be quite normal for SK to have high debt as lots of young people moving into the province now that it has recovered from NDP years of economic depression.

    Question is how fast are people paying debt off. If 22 fresh out of university, good job in growing SK then a buying a home, getting a mortgage makes a lot of sense but make the debt numbers look high.

    Me, I was debt free at 35 as with lower taxes and higher competitive wages Alberta has outperformed Ontario no for over 3 decades. SK has long since ditched depression NDP economics and is now in full recovery and growth mode.

    Debt itself is not bad, just that are the people managing debt with realism and pragmatic attitude or are they just debt-a-holics. Most people should plan on being debt free by 35 to 40 ears of age leaving lots of room for a nice retirement plan.