While the average debt among Canadians increased when compared to the same quarter last year, the national delinquency rate reached its lowest level since 2008, according to Equifax Canada's Q2 2014 National Consumer Credit Trends Report.
The average debt held by Canadians, excluding mortgages, is $20,759. On average, outstanding balances on financial products increased by 1.5% over the same period last year. As of Q2 2014, Canadian consumers owe $1,447.5 billion, compared to $1,422,1 billion in Q1 2014 and $1,350.6 billion in Q2 2013; an increase of 1.8% and 7.2%, respectively.
"Demand for new credit is up, but has slowed significantly versus the first quarter when we saw a spike in credit card activity," explained Regina Malina, Senior Director, Decision Insights, Equifax Canada. "Credit card balances of new cardholders continue to increase, while credit limits and new card issuance have slowed. This may be an indication that promotional activity of credit card issuers is slowing down."
Unlike the debt numbers, the national 90+ day delinquency rate has been consistently decreasing over the past four years. In Q2 2014, it reached 1.11%, the lowest level since 2008 and consumer bankruptcies declined by 5% over the last 12 months.
On a debt classification basis, the installment loan and national credit card sectors are still showing significant increases of 10.8% and 4.4% year-over-year, respectively.
"For the most part, Canadians are working within their means to manage their debt effectively," added Malina. "When stacking the regions up against each other, it's clear that Alberta remains the biggest driver of new credit. Demand for new credit in the West has increased for five consecutive quarters."