Canadians' net worth increased by two per cent in the first three months of 2012, the fastest pace of growth since the recession.
Canadians were collectively worth $6.7 trillion at the end of March, Statistics Canada reported Friday. Per capita, that works out to $193,500 for every Canadian, up from $190,200 at the end of 2011. That's the fastest pace of increase since the third quarter of 2008.
Equities (including mutual funds) and pension assets increased by 1.8 per cent in the period. That largely reflects gains from S&P/TSX composite index, which increased by 3.7 per cent in the first quarter.
That beat out increase in the value of real estate assets, which also went up during the quarter, by just over 1 per cent.
The growth in asset values was enough to outpace a slight uptick in debt loads. Growth in household credit market debt slowed in the first quarter to 0.9 per cent, driven by a slower rate of borrowing in consumer credit and mortgage loans, the agency said.
Canadians' disposable income also increased during the first three months of the year, but not by as much as debt loads. As a result, the ratio of credit market debt to personal disposable income increased to 152 per cent in the first quarter from 150.5 in the previous quarter, Statistics Canada said.