(Black Press Media files)

(Black Press Media files)

Canadian households added record mortgage debt in late 2020: StatsCan

Canadians owed $1.75 for every dollar of household disposable income

Canadian households piled up a record amount of mortgage debt for the second quarter in a row amid low interest rates and high housing prices, Statistics Canada said Friday.

Hot real estate markets in many regions helped propel house prices higher, pushing demand for mortgage loans to $34.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 — beating the previous high of $28.7 billion set in the third quarter, the agency said.

The growth in the value of real estate also pushed the net worth of homeowners higher, Statistics Canada said.

Residential real estate increased 3.3 per cent in value, the second consecutive quarter of strong growth, as investment in both new and existing homes remained robust, the agency said in its release.

National net worth overall increased to $357,955 from $343,172 on a per-capita basis, and by the end of the 2020, net worth had increased by more than a trillion dollars since the end of 2019, StatCan said.

Meanwhile, debt servicing and debt-to-income ratios saw an uptick in the fourth quarter but remained below pre-pandemic levels.

The household debt service ratio — measured as total obligated payments of principal and interest on credit market debt as a proportion of household disposable income — increased to 13.58 per cent from 13.18 per cent, Statistics Canada said in its release.

Still, the ratio was 9.8 per cent lower than its peak in the third quarter of 2019, the release said.

Household debt as a proportion of income rose to 175 per cent from 170.8 per cent, as debt grew slightly while household disposable income edged down, the agency said.

In other words, Canadians owed $1.75 for every dollar of household disposable income, up from $1.71 in the third quarter but still below the $1.81 Statistics Canada recorded at the end of 2019.

Canadians continued on a strong savings streak, marking the third consecutive quarter of double-digit savings rates, Statistics Canada said.

“The Canadian economy continued to recover, albeit at a slower pace, as households and businesses persisted in adjusting to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the release said.

“Canadians further reduced their reliance on government support measures as employee compensation regained additional lost ground.”

Yet even while government transfers and subsidies continued to wind down, declining for a second consecutive quarter, they still bolstered household savings and helped keep the savings rate high, the release said.

The increase in financial wealth helped Canadian stock markets recoup their losses from the market panic earlier in 2020, as Canadians looked for places to keep their excess savings, the agency said.

Meanwhile, the federal government continued to replace short-term borrowing with longer-term securities, issuing a record amount of bonds in the quarter, Statistics Canada said.

Canada’s overall national net worth, the sum of national wealth and Canada’s net foreign asset position, increased $602.9 billion from the previous quarter to $13,776.7 billion in the fourth quarter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Machine gun on roof of Pitt Meadows municipal hall, circa 1929. (Pitt Meadows Museum & Archives/Special to The News)
LOOKING BACK: German machine gun mystery solved – at least part of it

Recently discovered documents uncovered how war trophies came to exist in Pitt Meadows

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Maple Ridge resident encourages people to stand up to anti-Asian racism when they see it

Local letter writer can’t understand why people act out against certain groups

Kat Wahamaa marched downtown Vancouver to mark the fifth anniversary of the opioid crisis in B.C. She lost her own son to a fentanyl overdose in 2016. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)
Mothers mark opioid anniversary with march in Vancouver

Former City of Maple Ridge artist-in-residence and Maple Ridge homeless advocate mourn loss of children

Ken Stewart will serve another term as president of the Alouette River Management Society. (THE NEWS-files)
ARMS takes aim at city subdivision, Hydro’s water licence in coming year

Ken Stewart back as president of Maple Ridge conservation group

A small memorial to Rich Goulet at Pitt Meadows Secondary honoured the late coach. (The News files)
LETTER: Pitt Meadows petition signer lobs gym naming question back into school board’s court

Thousands of people have signed a petition to name a gym after the late coach Rich Goulet

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read