Canadians bumped up their debt levels slightly in the first quarter of the year, but there are positive signs of fewer delinquencies, a new study shows.
The rate of delinquencies for three months or more has fallen by 13.4 per cent from the same time period last year to a moderate 1.2 per cent, a record low, according to the report by credit-monitoring firm Equifax Canada.
“Late-stage delinquency rates continue to show improvement, especially in the energy-rich economies of Edmonton and Calgary as well as in Vancouver and Ottawa,” Cristian deRitis, senior director of consumer credit economics at Moody’s Analytics, said in a news release Wednesday.
The 1.2 per cent rate of unpaid debt in 90-day-plus delinquency, which excludes mortgage debt, is significantly lower than the 1.39 per cent posted in the first quarter of 2012, the agency said.
“This represents very positive financial control by consumers and lending institutions given the sustained low interest rate environment and improved employment rates,” said Nadim Abdo, vice-president of client solutions at Equifax Canada.