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TransUnion says Canadians’ combined outstanding debt hit a new record in the first quarter, reaching $2.32-trillion.

The agency says as the cost of living rose with high inflation and interest rate hikes, many Canadians turned to credit to alleviate financial pressures.

TransUnion says the number of Canadians with access to credit grew 2.9 per cent year over year, led by the number of subprime consumers, which grew 8.3 per cent.

Credit card originations were up 20 per cent amid heavy competition in the market, while the average line of credit monthly payment increased by 43 per cent to $436.

The company says mortgage origination dropped 32 per cent year over year as higher interest rates slowed demand for new mortgages, especially in the refinance market.

Meanwhile, serious consumer delinquency increased, though TransUnion noted that overall delinquency levels remain below pre-pandemic levels.

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