BMO Annual Debt Report: Household Debt Up 6 Per Cent to $76,140

BMO Annual Debt Report: Household Debt Up 6 Per Cent to $76,140 
More Canadians Have a Mortgage, Fewer With Credit Card Debt and
Student Loans Unchanged 
- Alberta has the highest household debt, Quebec has the lowest  
- Ontario and Prairies have decreased household debt from last year  
- More Canadians with a mortgage as Millennials entering the housing
TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 08/05/14 --   According to BMO's
Annual Debt Report released today, the average household debt in
Canada has risen from $72,045 last year to $76,140 in 2014, with
Alberta leading the way. The report also details how the mix of debt
- mortgages, credit cards and student loans - for households in the
provinces has changed year over year. 
The report, conducted by Pollara, revealed that household debt has
increased in each region across Canada, except for the Prairies and
Ontario. Alberta remains the province with the highest household
debt, $48,698 above the national average. Alberta and BC are above
the national average, while the other provinces are below.  

                            Average Household Debt                          
             National      ATL       QC       ON    MB/SK        AB       BC
2013          $72,045  $47,237  $56,860  $76,970  $82,100   $89,026  $79,089
2014          $76,140  $64,120  $59,805  $67,507  $68,437  $124,838  $99,834

Other noticeable regional differences include:  

--  Albertans have nearly twice the average household debt than Ontarians
    ($124,838 vs. $67,507, respectively). 
--  Atlantic Canadians took on more than $16,000 of household debt this year
    compared to 2013. 
--  British Columbians also took on more debt - $20,745 more this year than
--  Those in the Prairies reduced their debt by $13,000 from last year. 

Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets, noted that the
booming economy of Alberta, particularly Calgary, has made the
province an outlier compared to other regions. "Part of the reason
household debt in Alberta is so much higher than in other provinces
may be due to rapidly rising house prices, which have caused home
buyers to take on larger mortgages." 
The BMO Debt Report also revealed the type of debt Canadians have in
2014 compared to last year: 

--  Four in ten (43 per cent) Canadians hold mortgage debt, an increase of
    13 per cent year-over-year. 
--  More than half of Canadians have a credit card balance, but the number
    of households has dropped from 56 per cent to 52 per cent this year. 
--  Student loans have remained stable, with 15 per cent of Canadian
    households reporting this type of debt 

The rising share of households with a mortgage is partly driven by the
active participation of first-time buyers, mainly young Canadians,
noted Mr. Guatieri.  

                                Types of Debt                               
              National      ATL       QC       ON    MB/SK       AB       BC
Credit Cards       52%      60%      46%      54%      45%      50%      58%
Mortgages          43%      31%      46%      40%      38%      53%      44%
Student Loans      15%      20%      11%      19%       3%      17%      10%

"It is encouraging to see Canadians are paying down credit card debt,
which costs more - especially compared to today's low mortgage
rates," noted Tony Tintinalli, Regional Vice President, BMO Bank of
Montreal. Mr. Tintinalli encouraged Canadians to speak with a
financial planner to set realistic financial goals and a budget, and
put a plan in place to pay down their debt aggressively, whether by
opting for a shorter amortization for those with mortgages, or by
choosing a credit card with a lower monthly interest rate.  
Results from the BMO Household Debt 2014 survey are from interviews
with an online sample of 1,002 Canadians conducted between June 30th
and July 3rd, 2014. These results have been compared to the Household
Debt 2013 survey, which was conducted with an online sample of 1,005
Canadians between July 12th and 16th, 2013.The margin of error for a
probability sample of 1,002 or 1,005 is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. 
About BMO Financial Group  
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a
highly diversified financial services organization based in North
America. The bank offers a broad range of retail banking, wealth
management and investment banking products and services to more than
12 million customers. BMO Financial Group had total assets of $582
billion and more than 45,500 employees at April 30, 2014. 
Media Contacts:
Kathleen Savage, Toronto
(416) 867-3996 
Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224 
Twitter: @BMOmedia
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