Canadian household debt continues to grow in August

By Geraldine Grones

Canadian household debt at institutional lenders hit a new record high in August, according to Bank of Canada numbers.

The balance of outstanding household credit reached $2.23 trillion in August, up by 0.55% from July and by 3.8% from August 2018.

“The 3.8% 12-month change ... is 2.7% higher than the same month last year. This follows the past two months of stalling and a minor increase from the year before. Growth isn’t huge and is actually just off of multi-decade lows,” Better Dwelling said.

The growth was largely led by mortgage debt, which is beginning to accelerate. The balance of outstanding mortgage debt hit $1.59 trillion in August, up by 0.6% from the previous month and by 4% from the same month last year.

“The 4% 12-month increase ... is 8.1% higher than it was during the same month last year. April 2017 is the last time that happened, and it was only for a single month,” Better Dwelling said.

Meanwhile, the balance of outstanding consumer debt reached $637 billion in August, up by 0.5% from July and by 3.1% from August 2018. While consumer credit also reached a new all-time high, its growth continued to decelerate.

“The 3.1% annual rate of growth ... is 13.9% lower than the same month last year. It’s also lower than the month before,” Better Dwelling said.

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