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Equifax Canada says consumer delinquencies climbed higher in the fourth quarter of 2018 and the credit-monitoring company warns that rising delinquency rates are likely to become the norm this year.

It says the 90-day mortgage delinquency rate rose by 1.5 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2017 to 0.18 per cent at the end of last year.

The comparable non-mortgage rate was up 0.4 per cent to 1.07 per cent.

Equifax says total Canadian consumer debt including mortgages increased to nearly $1.91-trillion in the fourth quarter, up from $1.82-trillion in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The average non-mortgage debt for consumers was $23,520, up 3 per cent compared with a year earlier.

“Bankruptcies are up 15 per cent in the last half of 2018 and the small increase in delinquency rates mask some underlying weakness,” Equifax Canada vice-president Bill Johnston said in a statement.

“Rising delinquency is likely to become the norm in 2019.”