Revisions raise alarm bells about household debt as ratio reaches 163 per cent

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OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says households are more in hock than previously thought.

The agency's revisions on national balance sheets shows that household credit market debt in the second quarter hit 163 per cent of disposable income, well above the previously reported 152 per cent.

That number is also about where households in the United States and the United Kingdom stood before home values crashed.

The agency came up with the new number after stripping away non-profit institutions from the category, getting a more accurate reading on the state of household finances. The good news in the revision is that Canadians have more assets than previously thought, with per capita net worth rising $7,900 to $190,200.

TD bank economist Diana Petramala says the results show Canadian households are more vulnerable to a housing correction than previously thought.

That's because although Canadians hold more assets than their counterparts in the U.S. and the U.K. did before the crash, most of those assets are locked into the value of their homes, which could take a tumble in a housing correction or if the economy tanks.

Organizations: Statistics Canada, TD bank

Geographic location: United States, United Kingdom, OTTAWA

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Recent comments

  • George from Northern Pen
    October 15, 2012 - 12:29

    I am not at all surprised by these figures. All you have to do is look around you and see that most people, especially the younger generation, is living for today with no thought of how they will pay for things tomorrow. Money is cheap to come by with todays financing rates, and everywhere you turn a lending institute is throwing it at you. Homes are humongous, there are 2 big vehicles in every driveway, garages are full of motorized toys and people are traveling like never before. Building equity in a home and holding onto it is almost unheard of. We are nearly at a crisis. The question is how soon and how big the fall will be?