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Residential Market Commentary - week of September 19, 2016

Sep 19, 2016, 15:58 PM by Maria Broekhof
The record breaking debt load being carried by Canadian households has hit another high.  In a week that produced several surprising numbers the second quarter tally of debt to household income stole the show.

Canadian households now owe $1.68 for every dollar of disposable income.  It is an all time high that totals more than $1.97 trillion and now exceeds the country's GDP.  Of the total, $1.3 trillion is owed on mortgages and $586 billion is other consumer debt.

The ever mounting debt load is being driven by low interest rates which makes another recent report even more poignant.  TransUnion suggests one million Canadians will be in trouble if interest rates rise just 1.0%.

Still the housing market continues to thrive.  Even a slowdown in Vancouver has not led to a marked cooling.  The latest CREA numbers show Vancouver sales dropped 19% from July to August.  But year-over-year they remain nearly 15% higher.  Prices are 31% higher y/y.  In Toronto sales are up 23% and Montreal has experienced a 13% sales increase from a year ago.