Median net worth of Canadian families has risen

According to Statistics Canada’s latest Survey of Financial Security (SFS), homes are typically both the largest asset class and largest source of debt for Canadians.

The median net worth of Canadian families rose to $295,100 in 2016, an increase of almost 15% from four years ago, mostly due to the increasing home value.

Statistics Canada defines net worth as the amount of money that would be left if a family sold all its assets and paid off all its debts. A household of two or more persons was considered to be a family and unattached individuals were also included.

Also read: Why Metro Vancouver homeowners shouldn’t take on additional debt

In 2016, 61.7% of families reported a principal residence as an asset. Of this percentage, 57.3% still had a mortgage on their principal residence. Moreover, the median reported value of principal residence was $349,000, up 10% from 2012 and double that of 1999.

Overall, 29.6% of families were debt-free last year. Among Canadians aged 35 to 44, only 15.4% were debt-free.

Families in British Columbia reported the highest median net worth last year ($429,400). Families in Ontario ranked second, with a median net worth of $365,700. In contrast, New Brunswick reported the lowest median net worth among the provinces, at $158,400.

Variances in the value of homes accounted for most of the provincial differences in net worth. The median value of principal residences in BC was $550,000 last year, the highest value in Canada.

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