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Equifax Reports More Late Payments amid High Demand for Credit

Calgary mortgage delinquencies

Disclosure: This article is more technical than most of what we share as it is heavy on analysis and light on explaining.

Equifax® Canada’s recent Market Pulse report on consumer credit trends and insights reveals a continued high demand for credit in the first quarter of 2023. However, the mortgage market experienced a notable slowdown during this period. Despite this, the total consumer debt in Canada remained substantial, reaching $2.37 trillion, indicating a 4.9 percent increase from the previous year.

Credit Card Balances and Consumer Debt

Despite the seasonal trend of reduced non-mortgage debt following the holiday season, Equifax observed a continued increase in credit card balances during Q1 2023. This rise in credit card balances, attributed to the higher cost of living and an influx of new consumers entering the credit market, amounts to a 14.5 percent increase compared to Q1 2022. On average, consumers are now spending 21.5 percent more each month on their credit cards than before the pandemic, with an average monthly spend per credit card holder exceeding $2.2K this quarter.

Missed Payments and Delinquency Rates

In Q1 2023, 175,000 more consumers missed payments on at least one non-mortgage product, representing an 18.8 percent increase from the same period in 2022. British Columbia and Ontario, specifically, have experienced significant rises in 90+ days non-mortgage balance delinquency rates, up 31.1 percent and 31.2 percent, respectively, since Q1 2022. Moreover, the report reveals an increasing number of mortgage holders missing payments on non-mortgage products, reflecting a 15.7 percent increase from Q1 2022. This increase is nearly double the rate observed in the previous quarter.

Auto Loans and Insolvencies

The volatility of the auto industry in recent years has put many auto loans at risk. In the used car market, higher average car prices and interest rates have led to longer-term loans, an unprecedented trend for used cars. New auto loans opened in the latter half of 2021 are showing a higher rate of missed payments within the first 12 months. Insolvencies have risen by 28.5 percent from Q1 2022, primarily driven by consumer proposals, which have increased by 36.5 percent. Bankruptcies, on the other hand, have remained relatively low.

Housing Market Slowdown

The housing market in Canada continues to slow, with new mortgage originations plummeting by 42 percent compared to Q1 2022. This marks the lowest volume witnessed since 2014. Although there has been some price correction, home prices remain higher than expected. The average loan amount for new mortgages decreased by 13.9 percent from the peaks of Q1 2022. However, it only represents a 2.9 percent decrease compared to the previous quarter, indicating a potential end to the pricing correction.

Regional Insights: Alberta has Highest Delinquency Rates

Edmonton and Fort McMurray have the two highest delinquency rates for major cities in Canada. Calgary is firth of the nine cities listed.

In Edmonton, the average debt in Q1 2023 was $23,711, reflecting a decrease of 2.26 percent compared to the same period in the previous year. The delinquency rate stood at 1.63 percent, representing an increase from the previous year. In Calgary, the average debt was $24,011, showing a decrease of 3.91 percent year-over-year. The delinquency rate was lower at 1.27 percent.

Major City Analysis – Debt & Delinquency Rates (excluding mortgages)

City Average Debt

(Q1 2023)

Average Debt Change Year-over-Year

(Q1 2023 vs. Q1 2022)

Delinquency Rate ($)

(Q1 2023)

Delinquency Rate ($) Change Year-over-Year

(Q1 2023 vs. Q1 2022)

Calgary $24,011 -3.91% 1.27% 11.92%
Edmonton $23,711 -2.26% 1.63% 20.28%
Halifax $20,698 -0.60% 1.21% 26.34%
Montreal $16,279 1.75% 0.95% 24.75%
Ottawa $18,877 2.29% 1.00% 27.27%
Toronto $19,878 -0.13% 1.40% 31.39%
Vancouver $22,131 -1.41% 0.87% 36.29%
St. John’s $23,214 -1.44% 1.32% 20.59%
Fort McMurray $37,144 -0.47% 1.91% 23.26%

Source: Equifax Canada Market Pulse

What this all means to the housing market is yet to be seen. But the higher interest rates are taking their toll – and several employment sectors performing poorly might nudge us into difficult territory.



Josh Tagg has been the owner of Mortgages For Less since 2006. During that time Josh has developed a reputation for being an industry leader and advocate for client education.


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