Canada household debt rises further in 2nd quarter

Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:04am EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian household debt continued to rise in the second quarter as individuals took out more mortgages at historically low rates and obtained consumer loans, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.

The ratio of household credit market debt, which includes mortgages, consumer credit and loans, to disposable income rose to 149 percent from 147 percent in the previous quarter.

Policy makers have warned Canadians against taking on too much debt, especially as interest rates can only go up over time and some may find themselves unable to afford their debt payments.

The Bank of Canada warned earlier this year that the number of Canadians who were vulnerable to an adverse economic shock had risen to its highest level in nine years.

Despite an increase in home prices, household net worth declined 0.3 percent in the second quarter, Statscan said, because of a drop in prices of shares held by households, including pension assets.

Per capita household net worth fell for the first time in a year to C$184,300 from C$185,500 in the first quarter.

Government net debt and corporate debt-to-equity both rose in the second quarter compared with the first.

National net worth -- which includes households, corporations, governments and nonresidents -- rose 1.2 percent to C$6.4 trillion, with residential real estate accounting for over half of the gain.

(Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)