Total Outstanding Consumer Debt Tops $2 Trillion

TORONTO, Nov. 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Continued growth in the housing market and new auto loans led the way in driving total consumer debt up by 3.8 per cent to $2.041 trillion in the third quarter, according to Equifax Canada’s most recent report on consumer credit conditions. Overall average consumer debt rose to $74,897, up 3.3 percent compared to the third quarter of 2019.
Mortgage balances increased by 6.6 per cent in contrast to Q3 of 2019 and the average new mortgage loan amount surpassed $300,000 for the first time, an increase of 8.6 per cent. Despite the pandemic, new auto loans were also up 11.7 per cent compared to the same period last year. Average credit card spending returned close to pre-COVID levels during the quarter, but an increase in average payment amount led to overall credit card debt remaining similar to Q2 levels.“Homebuyers are largely the reason why we’ve crossed over the $2 trillion threshold,” said Rebecca Oakes, AVP of Advanced Analytics at Equifax Canada. “Car sales have also rebounded in the last few months. With manufacturer and auction house shutdowns there has been a temporary shortage of vehicle availability in some areas. This in turn has led to an increase in car prices as demand exceeds supply. Speculation in the sector suggests the pandemic may also be impacting car demand in the short term as consumers switch away from public transportation. Average auto loan amounts have increased to their highest level in four years.”Deferrals and delinquencies during the pandemicOver 3 million consumers opted for payment deferrals at some point since the pandemic started. Improvements in the job market combined with some consumers reaching the end of agreed lender deferral periods has led to less than half still having an active deferral at the end of September. Deferral accommodations have not stopped consumers from seeking new credit; approximately 12 per cent of new credit products in Q3 2020 were opened by consumers who had some form of deferral on their credit file.The 90+ day delinquency rate (the percentage of balances where credit users have missed 3+ payments) for non-mortgage debt dropped to 0.98 per cent – the lowest level since 2014 (down 15 per cent compared to Q3 2019).“The low delinquency rates we’re currently seeing are likely being masked by deferral programs,” said Oakes. “There are some warning signs in early-stage delinquency on credit cards where consumers have missed one or two payments that we’re closely monitoring. Typically, consumers prioritize their debt repayments in a certain order and credit cards are often the first to see missed payments when there are difficulties. The largest increase in this area is coming from people who have exited payment deferral programs in July, so potentially these could be individuals feeling greater financial stress because of COVID.”Debt (excluding mortgages) & Delinquency RatesMajor City Analysis – Debt (excluding mortgages) & Delinquency RatesProvince Analysis – Debt (excluding mortgages) & Delinquency Rates & Bankruptcy Amount* Based on Equifax data for Q3 2020About Equifax
At Equifax (NYSE: EFX), we believe knowledge drives progress. As a global data, analytics, and technology company, we play an essential role in the global economy by helping financial institutions, companies, employees, and government agencies make critical decisions with greater confidence. Our unique blend of differentiated data, analytics, and cloud technology drives insights to power decisions to move people forward. Headquartered in Atlanta and supported by more than 11,000 employees worldwide, Equifax operates or has investments in 25 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region. For more information, visit and follow the company’s news on LinkedIn.
Andrew Findlater
SELECT Public Relations
(647) 444-1197
Tom Carroll
Equifax Canada Media Relations

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