Consumer Debt Jumps In Canada, Returning To Long-Term Trend

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The average Canadian had $27,131 of consumer debt in the second quarter, a new study suggests. (Alamy photo) | Alamy
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TORONTO — The average Canadian had $27,131 of consumer debt in the second quarter, a new study suggests.

That's $910 higher compared to the same period last year, when the average Canadian had consumer debt of $26,221.

It is also nearly $200 higher than the first quarter of 2013, when consumer debt unexpectedly decreased for the first time in more than two years, according to the TransUnion study.

TransUnion said the year-over-year increase for the period ended June 30 was much higher than in the previous two years, and does not include mortgage debt.

The highest average consumer debt was $37,879 in British Columbia, while the lowest average debt was $18,580 in Quebec.

The credit bureau said it expects total debt to continue to grow throughout the rest of the year.

"After the unexpected first quarter decrease in consumer debt, the variable climbed back up in the second quarter with a larger than normal rise,'' said Thomas Higgins, TransUnion's vice-president of analytics and decision services.

"This points to Canadian consumers' continued appetite for credit as an instrument to make purchases.''

Meanwhile, a report from Equifax Canada released on Monday said total consumer debt in Canada rose $77 billion, or 6.1 per cent, in the second quarter of 2013 from last year, and by 6.5 per cent among those 65 and over.

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