The pace of mortgage borrowing continued to slow in February, according to data from Statistics Canada.
The national statistical agency reported that households added $5.3 billion in mortgage debt in February, which was down from $6.0 billion in January and continued a decline since last October when monthly mortgage borrowing hit $13.3 billion.
February’s total is also down from the same month last year when households added $6.3 billion in mortgage debt.
Still, StatsCan said that February, “which is normally a less active month with respect to mortgage borrowing, showed relative signs of strength compared with historical trends.”
The agency said that existing home sales were “robust in February, with overall sales volumes up nearly 40% from the previous year.”
Additionally, StatsCan said that on a seasonally adjusted basis, non-mortgage debt rose a bit in February after two straight monthly declines.
Still, that portion of household borrowing remained well below its level at the end of 2019.
“This reduced level of debt among households has been driven predominantly by a continuation of lower credit card balances, which have stemmed from lower household expenditures throughout the pandemic,” StatsCan said.
Total household borrowing came in at $2.46 trillion by the end of February, with $1.93 trillion of that comprised of mortgage debt and home equity lines of credit.
StatsCan also noted that borrowing by private non-financial corporations increased in February, rising by $4.7 billion. The agency said this was due to increased bank borrowing amid a decline in government financing as “there were fewer applicants to the Canada Emergency Business Account following the expansion of this program in December.”
Total borrowing by private non-financial corporations reached $2.86 trillion in February.