Debt, delinquency rates rise in oil producing provinces

Canadian households have increased their average debt by 3.6 per cent this quarter compared to a year ago. Equifax Canada says that average debt is now $22,081.

Meanwhile, delinquency rates nationally were largely unchanged but Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland saw higher rates.

"What we are seeing in Western Canada and Newfoundland would be of more concern if people in the two regions hit hard by the oil bust were also piling on a lot more debt and they are not, especially in Alberta and Saskatchewan,” said Regina Malina, Senior Director of Decision Insights at Equifax Canada.

While many households are decreasing their debts, excluding mortgages, those who are increasing their debts are doing so by larger amounts; but overall the management of that debt is not a large concern.

"The fact is people who can afford to do so are buying more cars, spending more on housing and borrowing more from financial institution,” added Malina. “Meanwhile, older Canadians showed the largest increase in average debt but continue to have the least trouble making their required payments on time."
 

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