Average Canadian household debt reaches $96,000
Published Tuesday, February 16, 2010 7:38PM EST
The average Canadian family's household debt rose to $96,000 last year, a new study says.
Debt-to-income levels rose to 145 per cent – the highest level ever recorded in the study, which has run annually for 11 years.
The Vanier Institute of the Family study found a dramatic rise in late debt payments.
Mortgage payments that were at least 90 days late were up 50 per cent over 2008.
Additionally, there was a rise of 40 per cent in credit card payments that were three months behind.
The study said first-time mortgage buyers were taking on the most debt, unsurprisingly. However, the study says that many have taken advantage of record low interest rates and may have problems making payments if interest rates rise.
Two-thirds of Canadians 18-34 would find themselves in trouble if their paycheque was delayed by only one week, a September 2009 survey by the Canadian Payroll Association found.
However, the study also found Canadians were saving more since the recession began.
The personal savings rate rose from about 2 per cent to nearly five per cent in the last four quarters, the study reports.
"This is a huge shift in attitude and behaviour by households," the study says.
On Tuesday, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty introduced tighter mortgage regulations for Canadians, in part out of concerns about rising debt levels.