Canada

Canadians Are Borrowing Against Real Estate At The Fastest Pace Ever

Canadians Are Borrowing Against Real Estate At The Fastest Pace Ever

Canadian real estate prices have soared, and so did borrowing against that value. Our analysis of domestic bank filings from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) shows that loans secured against property has reached an all-time high. More surprising is the unprecedented rate of growth experienced this year.

Total balance of loans secured against residential real estate across Canada, as determined through regulatory filings from all domestic banks. Source: OFSI, Better Dwelling.

Canadians Borrowed Against Over $313 Billion In Real Estate

Loans secured against residential real estate shattered a few records in June. Over $313.66 billion in real estate was used to secure loans, up 3.43% from the month before. The rise puts annual gains 11.16% higher than the same month last year, an increase of $31.51 billion. The monthly increase is the largest increase since March 2012. The annual gain is unprecedented according to an aggregate of domestic bank filings.

Source: OFSI, Better Dwelling.

Over $266 Billion Was For Non-Business Related Reasons

Not all borrowing against residential property is all bad, sometimes it’s a calculated risk. For example, someone may need to secure a business loan, and use the loan for operating risks. It doesn’t mean the property is safe, but it’s a risk that could potentially boost the economy.

Source: OFSI, Better Dwelling.

This is opposed to non-business loans, which is used as short-term financing. This type of financing is often used for things like renovations, and putting a fancy car in the driveway. Experts have observed that more homeowners are using these to prevent bankruptcy. Bottom line, it’s not typically healthy looking debt. So let’s remove loans obtained for business reasons, and take a peek at higher risk debt.

The majority of these loans are non-business related according to bank filings. The current total is over $266 billion as of June 2017, a 1.01% increase from the month before. This is a 4.9% increase from the same month last year, which works out to $12.49 billion more. Fun fact, that’s around $23,763 per minute. The number is astronomical.

Are Canadians Borrowing Time?

Debt experts have expressed concern with the rate homeowners are borrowing against their homes. Hoyes-Michalos, one of Ontario’s largest debt consultancies, recently said more Canadians have been borrowing against their home to avoid filing for bankruptcy. This is a temporary fix that will become much more complicated in the very near future. As interest rates rise to normal levels, the ability to keep making payments becomes harder. Hoyes-Michalos estimates a mild rise in rates could push bankruptcies above 2009 levels.

Increasing equity extraction remains a sleeper threat for Canadian real estate markets. Borrowing against homes increases the chance that a mild shock could impact real estate. This shock could be a correction, recession, or even just higher interest rates. Normal market mechanics have become a threat to the economy, which is pretty disturbing. Bottom line, try not to buy more home than you can afford.

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