Consumer debt still rising, but delinquency rates dropping in Alberta - 660 CITYNEWS
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Consumer debt still rising, but delinquency rates dropping in Alberta

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There’s more good news on the consumer debt front.

While debt continues to grow, delinquency rates are falling in Alberta, especially in Calgary.

TransUnion Canada Director of Research and Industry Analysis Matt Fabian said a big reason is that the economy has turned around.

“Generally, things like credit have a little bit of a longer tail so when the economy turns around, you start to see that manifest itself in credit behaviour usually a few months after,” he explained.

Fabian said it looks like fewer Albertans are leveraging credit just to get by.

“It might be more consumers making investment choices or making other choices that are deliberate versus trying to hang on, to keep things afloat,” he said.

The average non-mortgage consumer debt loads in Calgary and Edmonton are still quite high, $38,115 and $32,357 respectively.

But while debt levels are higher in Calgary, the delinquency rate is almost 1.5 per cent lower than our neighbour to the north.

Edmonton still leads the country in delinquency rates at 7.21 per cent while Calgary is in the middle of the pack at 5.74 per cent.

“I think Edmonton might be more resource focused so it’s a bit of a longer tail pulling out, Calgary probably has more headquarters, more white-collar jobs so probably a bit more turn around there,” said Fabian.

“I also think that it’s a function of wildfires and things like that, that happen closer to Edmonton and so there’s probably a little more stress on the economy there.”

Fabian added both cities have seen significant year over year declines in delinquency rates which is a positive.

Having said that, there is still a bumpy road ahead for all Canadians.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen as a result of NAFTA negotiations and there’s likely to be another interest rate increase,” he cautioned.