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Original perspectives and personal viewpoints on developments and industry trends.

Residential Market Commentary - Staggering under the weight of debt

  • First National Financial LP

The Canadian economy continues to show resilience and growth, but Canadians appear to believe they are not getting much benefit from it.

The latest numbers from Statistics Canada show that the economy grew by 0.1% in November.  That is a small increase but it beat expectations for no growth and it erases at 0.1% decline registered in October.

However, Canadians remain mired in debt and appear to be growing more pessimistic about their situation.  Right now, the level of debt to household income stands at nearly $1.70 for every $1.00 of disposable income.  On a grander scale, debt as a portion of Canada’s GDP is nearly 306%.

The newest quarterly survey by insolvency trustees MNP suggests 20% of Canadians feel their debt situation is worse now than it was five years ago.  And the view of the future also appears dim.  The MNP Consumer Debt Index shows optimism about debt one-year and five-years in the future has dropped to all time, or near all time, lows.

The survey indicates nearly 30% of Canadians say they are already insolvent.  It also suggests more Canadians are feeling like they are getting closer to the edge, with half saying they are only $200.00 away from being insolvent at the end of any given month.  That is a two-percentage point increase over the previous survey.  Nearly the same number (49%) feel they will not be able to meet their monthly obligations without going deeper into debt.