Top Canadian cities grappling with credit card debt: Report

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A new report finds Canadians have racked up an eye-popping $109.4 billion in credit card debt, an increase of 4% since 2019.

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That translates to an average credit card debt of $3,000 per Canadian.

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The folks at savvynewcanadians.com analyzed data and uncovered a concerning pattern across major Canadian cities, particularly Victoria, Vancouver, Oshawa, and Toronto, which topped the list.

The data noted that mortgage debt is the main contributor to overall consumer debt at 22.88%, due to the housing crisis and increased borrowing capacity, with Canadians taking out more loans to buy homes.

In fact, Canadian household debt levels are the highest among its G7 peers, with 74.3% tied to mortgages.

Canadians now find themselves with more than $65,000 of consumer debt, on average, according to the report.

Victoria tops the list for credit card debt with an average of $12,874.

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The Canadian capital’s total debt saw moderate 2.72% growth, from $1.17 billion in 2019 to $1.21 billion in 2023, reflecting consumer spending habits and financial behaviours.

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While Vancouver leads the nation in consumer debt ($360,683.00 per capita), due to the city’s high housing prices, its per capita credit card debt was $12,332, showing some stability with a 4.14% increase since 2019, and putting it in second place.

The data found that third-place Oshawa demonstrates a robust economy with per capita consumer debt of $175,566 and credit card debt of $7,505 per capita.

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That figure represents a 5.69% growth, indicating cautious credit card usage aligning with its overall consumer debt trends.

At $187,350.00 consumer debt per capita, Toronto residents have faced financial challenges, with an 18.78% increase in consumer debt in 2019.

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But there are some signs of life and economic vigor indicated by its 2.25% in total credit card debt (which translates to $7,411).

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital, ranks fifth for the highest credit card debt per capita last year with though total credit card debt decreased by 1.08% to put it at $6,115.

Charlottetown, Montreal, St. Catharines-Niagara, Kelowna and Barrie round out the Top 10.

The latest data comes after the total consumer debt in Canada climbed to a staggering $2.4 trillion in the third quarter of 2023, an increase of $80.9 billion from the same period last year and marking a 17.7% jump from the $1.99 trillion figure from four years ago.

Click here for the full report.

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