In the last year, mortgages made up 80% of Canadian household debt accumulation, says CIBC World Markets.
The increase in mortgage debt is mainly due to a rise in the average mortgage size as opposed to greater home buying activity. This rise is most pronounced in Toronto and Vancouver, where the housing prices are going up faster than the rest of the country.
Read: Household debt inches up
In Toronto and Vancouver, “the prices of more expensive properties are rising faster than less expensive properties,” says Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC. In the last 10 years, the prices of the most expensive Vancouver homes have climbed nearly four times the rate of those in the lowest range.
CIBC says there was no notable acceleration in the pace of credit growth in recent months — indicating that the Bank of Canada’s recent rate cut didn’t fuel a spike in personal borrowing. The bank found that while overall household debt levels are going up, delinquency rates continue to go down, reaching their lowest levels since 2009.
“Mortgage delinquencies continue to decline, falling below 0.3% with Ontario experiencing the lowest level at 0.15%, even as Toronto remains one of the priciest housing markets in the country,” says Tal. “The same is true in Alberta, where the energy sector’s volatile labour market has not yet affected households’ ability to repay debt.”
He adds that while consumer debt led by credit card borrowing is slowly rising, delinquency rates on all consumer credit including credit cards, lines of credit and term loans are slowing down.