The average Canadian consumer’s debt, excluding mortgage, has increased at its greatest rate in nearly two years, according to TransUnion’s quarterly analysis of national credit trends.
The report, released Wednesday, said debt jumped 4.6 per cent in the third quarter of this year to $26,768. The nation experienced both its largest quarterly (2.1 per cent) and annual (4.6 per cent) growth since the fourth quarter of 2010.
The report said that in the last five years between the third quarter of 2007 and the third quarter of 2012, inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index has risen nine per cent, yet total consumer debt (excluding mortgage) has jumped more than 37 per cent.
“At this time last year, we were encouraged to see consumer total debt levels remain relatively stagnant for three consecutive quarters,” said Thomas Higgins, TransUnion’s vice-president of analytics and decision services. “One year later, it appears we have reversed course as consumer total debt has increased for three straight quarters, including the largest jump in nearly two years this past quarter. While delinquency levels remain about the same or lower than they were one year ago, it should be noted that in the past five years debt levels have now increased 400 per cent more than the rate of inflation.”
In Alberta, the average consumer debt of $33,688 was second only to British Columbia’s $38,837 in the third quarter of this year. Average consumer debt in Alberta rose by 0.4 per cent on a quarterly basis and by 1.5 per cent year-over-year.