Published August 23, 2012 | 10:26 am
Toronto: Despite repeated warnings, Canadians have turned a deaf ear and returned to their borrowing ways, pushing consumer debt levels to a new record high.
A report released Thursday by TransUnion shows that the average Canadian’s non-mortgage debt reached $26,221 in the second quarter of 2012, up $192 from the previous quarter. The $26,221 amount is the highest per person debt level since the credit bureau started tracking the data in 2004.
Lines of credit represent the largest type of debt Canadians carry, according to the report. In the second quarter, Canadians carried an average of $33,721 in debt on lines of credit; $22,493 on installment loans, $18,881 on car loans; and $3,556 on credit cards.
Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney, among others, has been warning for years now that debt levels among Canadian households are getting out of hand.
While a good thing is that Canadians are repaying their debt on time and consumer bankruptcies have fallen to historic levels.
Experts feel the big concern is that at these levels, individual Canadians may not have the financial safety nets to absorb unforeseen economic shocks or to be able to weather the storm as long as they did in the past.
TransUnion also says there was a big increase in auto loans.