Greater Victoria residents are among the most credit-worthy Canadians, but overall debt level continues to rise. (Derek Ford / District of Saanich)

Greater Victoria residents among the most credit-worthy Canadians

Yet debt levels continue to rise as Canadians owe $178 for every $100 earned

While residents of Greater Victoria are among the most credit-worthy Canadians, they also have seen their obligations rise, according to figures from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CHMC).

They show the average credit score (Equifax Risk Score) for residents in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) has risen to 780 in the third quarter of 2018 after a minor dip with the general trend line nonetheless pointing up. By comparison, Vancouver’s average credit score is 776.

RELATED: CMHC says Canadians debt levels hit record highs at end of last year

The report also notes that credit scores in both the Vancouver and Victoria CMAs exceed both provincial and Canadian averages in the third quarter of 2018, adding that urban centres dependent on oil and gas have suffered drops.

“With improvements in employment opportunities, growth in wages and generally improved ability for the average consumer to make payments on their loans since 2014, decreasing delinquencies across credit types have contributed to upward movements in average credit scores,” it reads.

Consider mortgage delinquencies. “Only 0.1 per cent and 0.12 per cent of outstanding mortgages in Vancouver and Victoria, respectively, were delinquent in [the third quarter of 2018] down slightly from 0.11 per cent and 0.13 per cent in the [third quarter of 2017],” the report notes. “Both Vancouver and Victoria’s delinquency rates remained below the provincial average of 0.16 per cent.”

This said, Canadians are adding debt faster relative to income. While their disposable incomes rose by 2.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018, their average monthly obligations rose by 4.5 per cent. Overall, Canadians owed $178.50 for every $100 they earned in the fourth quarter of 2018, a record debt-to-income ratio.

Mortgage loans accounted for nearly two thirds of the total debt held by Canadians consumers. Home equity lines of credit (10.8 per cent), credit cards (5.3 per cent), auto loans (4.1 per cent) and personal lines of credits (3.1 per cent) made up the rest.

Notably, average Canadians with mortgages saw their mortgage obligations rise 4.4 per cent, with rising mortgage obligations also affecting non-mortgage debt.

While Victoria residents without mortgages saw their outstanding debt levels rise by 2.98 per cent, Victoria residents with mortgages saw their outstanding debt (excluding mortgage) rise 4.85 per cent.


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