Mortgage Debt in Canada is Now Equal to the Entire Country’s GDP
As Canadians continue to snatch up whatever properties are available, they are subsequently piling on mortgage debt by a record amount.
According to Statistics Canada, in April, household mortgage debt grew by 1% to $1.69 trillion by the end of the month, marking the fastest pace since 2010.
April’s total mortgage debt reached $17.7 billion, following a sizeable $12.9 billion increase in March, setting a record for the largest month-over-month increase.
Compared with April 2020, this is up 7.8%.
What’s more, when combining mortgage debt with the nearly $250 billion in total credit liabilities (home equity lines of credit) of Canadian households in April, “Real estate secured debt, composed of both mortgage debt and home equity lines of credit, stood at $1,961.9 billion.”
Canada’s GDP in March 2021 was 1,979.9 billion.
National home prices rose to an average of just over $688,000 last month — down 1.1% from April, but a figure that has increased by 38.4% in the past year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
However, there continue to be signs of moderation in Canada’s red-hot housing market, as demand, supply, and average prices all fell in May. The declines come as offer fatigue, buyer frustration, and the urgency to buy a home amid the pandemic have begun to fade.
The recent data from Statistics Canada shows just how much the surge in prices is fuelling mortgage debt — posing as what the Bank of Canada has said is a significant vulnerability to the economy.
This comes as overall consumer debt has soared to $2.08 trillion thanks to unprecedented levels of new mortgage volumes. According to Equifax Canada’s most recent report on consumer credit conditions, while most Canadian consumers are pulling back on their credit card debt, new mortgages are soaring.
New mortgages are up 41.2% in Q1 compared to Q1 2020, and the average limit on new mortgages grew by 20.5% to $326,930. This moves total consumer debt up 0.62% from last quarter and up 4.78% from Q1 2020.
However, while mortgage debt is soaring, Canadians have cut down on other types of debt since the start of the pandemic. Non-mortgage debt edged up 0.2% in April to reach $782.7 billion, but this still remains below pre-pandemic levels. Overall, the total credit liabilities of households reached $2,482.3 billion by the end of April, according to Statistics Canada.