Calgary

Debt delinquencies spike nearly 15% in Alberta but dip in Ontario and B.C.

The debt delinquency rate in Alberta has risen by 14.7 per cent since last year, bucking the national trend of more modest increases, according to the latest figures from the credit-monitoring firm TransUnion Canada.

TransUnion report says Calgarians carrying the most debt, at an average of $28,205

TransUnion Canada says Albertans lead the country in both debt levels and delinquency rates. (Elise Amendola/Associated Press)

The debt delinquency rate in Alberta has risen by 14.7 per cent since last year, bucking the national trend of more modest increases, according to the latest figures from the credit-monitoring firm TransUnion Canada.

The company's second quarter Industry Insights Report also says Albertans are carrying an average debt load of $27,583 — the highest in the country — compared to a national average of $21,580.

Saskatchewan's average debt level is the second highest at $24,036. That province's 90-plus day delinquency rate has increased by 11.6 per cent since the second quarter of 2015, the report says.

Alberta's 90-plus day delinquency rate was 3.08 per cent while Saskatchewan's — the highest in the country — was 3.38 per cent.

"Alberta and Saskatchewan experienced yearly double-digit percentage delinquency increases, but this was not unexpected as we had already forecast this to happen last summer," said Jason Wang, TransUnion Canada's director of research and analysis.

Last summer, TransUnion predicted both provinces would face delinquency pressures this year and next because of falling oil prices.

Calgarians lead the country in debt levels, owing an average of $28,205 in non-mortgage loans.

The two graphs below show how that compares with Canada's other major cities, and how debt levels vary across selected provinces:

TransUnion's report suggests that despite "robust credit activity" in Ontario and British Columbia — with respective debt-load upticks of 3.1 per cent and two per cent — consumers in those provinces are in strong financial shape.

"As two of the nation's largest provinces, Ontario and British Columbia have proven to be resilient during challenging economic conditions brought on by the oil slump and the recent wildfire in Alberta," said Wang.

"With more than half of Canada's credit-active population residing in these two provinces, their stable performance is a positive for the overall economy."

Nationally, the debt category that saw the biggest jump was instalment loans at 6.31 per cent over last year, compared with a 3.2 per cent uptick in auto loan debt and a 2.03 per cent increase in credit card debt. Line of credit debt decreased by 0.03 per cent from the second quarter of 2015.

(TransUnion)

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