Canadians increased their debt burdens by about six per cent over the past year, according to a new survey from BMO, but when it comes to owing money, different parts of the country are headed in different directions.
Western Canadians have seen their debts skyrocket over the past year, BMO says, with Alberta taking the lead. The average houshold debt there soared 40 per cent, to $124,838. It's the highest debt burden of any region in Canada.
British Columbians’ average household debt jumped 26 per cent, to $99,834, from $79,089.
Much of the growth in home prices and sales in recent months has been concentrated in three markets -- Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver.
Those rapidly growing home sales numbers also help to explain why a larger number of Canadians hold mortgage debt today than last year.
The number of households with mortgage debt grew by 13 per cent in the past year, BMO’s survey found, to 43 per cent of all households.