Canada’s household debt is now bigger than its GDP, for the first time

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OTTAWA — The insatiable appetite of Canadians for cheap credit has been well-documented since the Great Recession, as consumers piled on debt by ever-increasing numbers.

Now, household borrowing has reached a new milestone, of sorts.

For the first time, the level of debt held by Canadians has exceeded the country’s gross domestic product as the red ink spilled over in the second quarter to 100.5 per cent of GDP, up from 98.7 per cent during the previous three-month period. Continue reading

What Trudeau’s Election Teaches Us About Canada

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Canadian Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau speaks in Montreal on October 20, after winning the general elections.

 

 

Three things you can expect now that Canada has elected its own President Obama.

On Monday, Canadians went to the polls to elect their next prime minister. It was the highest turnout in more than two decades. More than 68 percent of potential voters cast a ballot.

The result was emphatic. Charismatic Liberal leader Justin Trudeau—who promised Canada “sunny ways” and “change”—won a stunning victory.

But what does this mean in practical terms for Canada?

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Canada’s Housing Bubble Is Stretched to the Limit

Since America’s housing bubble popped in 2007, Canada’s house prices have risen an astounding 22 percent. That has to be the definition of insanity—piling into the very investment that made your neighbor and most important economic partner virtually collapse.

But perhaps the biggest sign of a Canadian housing bubble is debt! Rising debt is the gas that fuels all bubbles. The average debt burden of Canadian families stands at a remarkable 153 percent of disposable income—and growing. It was only 150 percent three months ago. Canadians are now one of the most indebted people in the developed world, and just about as indebted as Americans before their bubble burst.

Based on this measure, the Economist figures the Canadian market is overvalued by over 70 percent. Even U.S. bubble epicenter Los Vegas has only seen house prices fall by 60 percent.

Last month, Merrill Lynch called Canada’s housing market overvalued, oversupplied and driven by speculation.

And in a report released last week, cibc argued that the people least likely to be able to afford new mortgages are the ones taking on new debt. One third of debtors hold about 75 percent of all personal debt. And who is this one third? According to cibc, it is boomers nearing retirement and those already burdened by high debt.

Canada’s bubble is getting close to bursting, and when it does, expect a massive economic implosion. Unemployment will soar, banks will fail or ask for bailouts, and the dollar will plunge in value. Millions of Canadians will be left paying a fixed mortgage on a rapidly depreciating asset that will destroy their financial lives.

Five years following the popping of America’s housing bubble, Canadians may be about to wish they had learned a lesson. Get your ear plugs ready.

Full article: Canada’s Housing Bubble Is Stretched to the Limit (The Trumpet)