OTTAWA – Canadians added $48 billion in new debt from April to June, but younger Canadians are the ones struggling to pay it all off, according to the latest report from Equifax Canada.
Delinquencies among millennials – those between the ages of 18 and 24 – rose 12 per cent in the second quarter. The only age group that saw their delinquency rate fall over the last 12 months were those 65 and older. That age group was on par with 55-64 year-olds for having a rate below one per cent, but still managed to add over $1,100 to their debts over the past year.
"For the most part, older Canadians have always demonstrated an ability to handle their spending and what they owe. Millennials should be reminded to practice good budget and money management habits," Regina Malina, senior director of decision insights at Equifax Canada said.
Delinquency rates in Alberta and Saskatchewan also climbed higher in the second quarter due to the fallout from the drop in the price of oil.
Equifax said the delinquency rate for Alberta stood at 1.4 per cent, up 40.3 per cent compared with a year ago. The delinquency rate in Saskatchewan climbed to 1.2 per cent, a gain of 22.7 per cent.
Newfoundland, which has also been hit by the downturn in oil, was up 19.4 per cent at 1.3 per cent.
"They are still relatively low and that has to be kept in perspective, but we definitely are seeing the impact of the prolonged situation in those regions," Malina said.
"It looks like it is a fairly persistent situation so we'll probably see these increases for a while until the region will adjust to the new economic situation."
The oil-producing provinces have been hit hard by the downturn in the price of oil as energy companies have slashed billions in spending and cut thousands of jobs.
The rise in delinquencies in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland came as the overall delinquency rate in Canada crept up 4.1 per cent to 1.1 per cent.
Rates in Ontario were down 3.9 per cent at 1.1 per cent, while Quebec also moved down 3.3 per cent to 1.1 per cent.
According to data compiled by Equifax, the amount Canadians owe increased to $1.66 trillion in the second quarter, up 6.3 per cent compared with a year ago.
The credit monitoring agency said instalment loans, auto loans and mortgage sectors had significant increases of 7.8 per cent, 7.6 per cent and 7.6 per cent year-over-year, respectively.
Excluding mortgages, consumers owed on average $21,878, up 3.4 per cent from a year ago.