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(RAFAL GERSZAK FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

DAVID PARKINSON

Consumer debt on track to follow housing’s decline

In every province but one, Canadian consumers are continuing their debt party like it’s perpetually midnight on New Year’s Eve, with little care about tomorrow morning’s hangover. Yet in British Columbia, it looks like the housing market has already crashed the party – and it’s a major buzz-kill.

A new quarterly report on Canadian consumer debt levels, from consumer credit-data provider TransUnion, tells a tale not unlike many other reports on Canada’s household debt problem: We’re at record levels, yet still climbing. TransUnion’s numbers show that average personal debt levels (excluding mortgages) at the end of 2012 were up 5.9 per cent compared with the end of 2011. Average debt increased in every province of the country last year – except British Columbia.