Tag Archives: household

Household debt is growing faster in Greece than in Canada

Most everyone knows that Canadians hold a lot of household debt now.  Debt levels have been growing for years, but it still seems surprising that Canada is second only to Greece in household debt growth.  This according to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute who adds our country to a list of seven others at risk from high debt levels.

The report found household debt in Canada had risen to 155 per cent of income in 2014, up from 133 per cent seven years earlier. That’s a slightly lower estimate than the Bank of Canada’s, which estimates household debt at 162.6 per cent of income, a record high.

Only Greece saw a larger increase in household debt since the Great Recession, rising 30 percentage points. The U.S., by comparison, has seen household debt levels decline by 26 percentage points, relative to income, in that time. U.S. household debt levels have been largely falling since the country’s housing bubble burst during the last recession.

Read the full article here.

You’ll be relieved to know that even though our debt growth has been 2nd fastest, we still don’t have the highest debt levels. That prize goes to Denmark and Norway.

We love debt even more than Americans

Canadian consumer debt.  It’s not just growing, it’s growing faster.

Transunion has released their latest quarterly analysis and it shows Canadian household debt loads increasing 400% percent faster than inflation.

Statistics Canada pegs Canadian household market debt at an astounding 163% of disposable income.

For comparisons sake, the US housing bubble saw household debt peak in 2007 at 128% of disposable income.  By 2011 the US rate was down to 112%.

The good news? Credit card debt is actually down year over year and delinquencies across all types of debt remain low.

Transunion puts the average household non-mortgage debt at $26,768.  Do you owe more or less than that?

Higgins said the increase stands in stark contrast to encouraging signs from relatively stagnant debt growth in the prior three quarters.

He also points out that in the past five years, debt loads have increased 400 per cent more than the rate of inflation — with inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index up nine per cent and consumer debt jumping more than 37 per cent.

“Debt’s outpacing us and continues to outpace us, so at some point in time there’s going to be a reconciliation,” Higgins said.

“Hopefully it’s not drastic and hopefully it doesn’t hit everybody, but there’s going to be a correction somehow along the way.”

Read the full article over at the CBC.

Paying debt with debt

This Globe and Mail article starts like this:

A new poll suggests that most Canadians are quite comfortable with using debt as a financial strategy – at a time when debt loads have risen to alarming new highs.

Shouldn’t that be the other way around?  Canadians are quite comfortable using debt as a financial strategy and that has driven debt loads to alarming new highs.

The survey shows 9 out of 10 respondents would consider borrowing money to pay for an unexpected $2,000 cost.  Yeah, that’s right: $2k. These people appear to have little or no financial buffer.

While 55 per cent said they were extremely or very confident they could raise the cash, 92 per cent said they’d consider borrowing to come up with some of the cash.

Less than half – 45 per cent – said they’d never faced a debt problem.

The poll results come as Canadian debt-to-income ratios sit at a record 152 per cent and top officials issue warnings to start paying down debt before interest rates rise.

The findings suggest consumers have been unmoved by warnings that rates will inevitably rise and that the resulting financial burden could sink some households.

“It’s frightening to see that Canadians have become totally blasé about debt – it’s becoming their new ‘normal’ and they’re numb to this dangerous trend,” says Douglas Hoyes, a bankruptcy trustee with Hoyes, Michalos & Associates Inc.

“For many, the use of debt to not only pay for big ticket items like cars, but also to cover day-to-day living expenses, has become commonplace.”

Now compare this to the USA in 2006 where household debt grew at a record level, but a housing boom had also boosted networth.  Some were concerned about unsustainably high house prices, but Ben Bernanke said that he would not prick asset bubbles.

And he didn’t.

In fact the US government did everything in its power to prevent house prices from collapsing.  They pumped money into the system, drove down interest rates and came up with all sorts of programs to prevent people from losing their homes.

You may be surprised to find out what happened to house prices in the US since then, especially the ‘hot’ markets like Florida, Arizona, California and Nevada.

Friday free-for-all!

It’s that time of the week again… Time for our end of the week new round up and open topic discussion thread!  Here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

Canadians carry stupid debt levels
Canada better off than USA?
Average price to jump this month?
Chinas glut of unsold goods
-(lazy editor, More links to follow)

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!