Greater Vancouver Households Are Going Broke Mega Fast

Having trouble keeping up with your bills? So are a lot of people in Greater Vancouver these days. Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada (OSB) filings show more people are becoming insolvent in Q3 2019. Greater Vancouver has seen a trend of growth for insolvencies over the past year, but the most recent quarter shows it’s accelerating.

Insolvencies Vs. Bankruptcies

Insolvencies come in two flavors – consumer proposals and bankruptcy. Both need a licensed insolvency trustee (LIT) to make your filings. Consumer proposals allow borrowers to pay a percentage of the debt they owe. In exchange, the lender discharges the balance owing. During bankruptcy, the borrower assigns most of their assets to a LIT. They then get some of your unsecured debt discharged. All bankruptcies are insolvencies, but not all insolvencies are bankruptcies. That said, both imply lender losses, and a pretty big mark on the borrower’s credit.

Greater Vancouver Insolvencies Rise Over 25% In Q3

Greater Vancouver insolvencies are rising very quickly in the latest quarter. There were 1,393 insolvency filings made in Q3 2019, up 25.27% compared to the same quarter last year. To contrast, BC saw a total of 2,926 filings in Q3 2019, up 21.87% compared to the same quarter last year. Greater Vancouver’s insolvency growth is over represented in the latest quarter. In other words, it’s hogging more of the debt failure.

Greater Vancouver Insolvency Filings

The number of insolvency filings made in the 12 months ending Q3 2019, for both Greater Vancouver and British Columbia.

Source: OSB, Better Dwelling.

Greater Vancouver Insolvencies Are Up 17% Over The Past Year

Greater Vancouver insolvencies have been rising over the past year, but not this fast. There have been 5,021 insolvency filings in the past 12-months ending in Q3 2019, up 9.06% compared to a year before. To contrast, BC has seen 10,935 filings in the same window, up 9.53% compared to a year before. Vancouver area insolvencies were growing a little slower than the general BC rate. That is, until this most recent quarter, which shows big acceleration in contrast to the whole year.

Greater Vancouver Insolvency Growth

The percent change for insolvency filings made in the 12 months ending Q3 2019, compared to a year before.

Source: OSB, Better Dwelling.

Greater Vancouver insolvencies are rising, not unlike the rest of the country. The growth in the number of filings has been slower than it generally has been for BC. However, it appears it’s going to change soon. The most recent quarter for insolvency growth in Greater Vancouver is not only much faster than it’s been over the past year, it dwarfs provincial growth.

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  • Reply
    Marc 3 years ago

    Imagine how high it would be if buyers weren’t picking up every home that’s listed for sale.

    • Reply
      Li Gongfu 3 years ago

      Why sell? They’ll just borrow on their HELOC, for as long as prices don’t correct.

      • Reply
        straw walker 3 years ago

        I think those that are facing financial problems and need to sell, have all ready tapped out all the equity in their homes. Those Heloc loans to sustain lifestyle is now become their nemesis.
        I was recently talking to a neighbor that is trying to sell his home.. Has a mortgage and a Heloc loan, and now is facing threats from the Heloc loan that the house has to sell or he will be facing foreclosure. The offers he has received do not cover both secured loans, but the bank wants it’s money now. I think this is not just a singular event.

  • Reply
    James Wilson 3 years ago


  • Reply
    Johnny 3 years ago

    Imagine a world where the government didn’t purposely Kill the economy- yes we build condos, the NDP has systematically chased away all other business for generations so that we now have no other industry. Why is anyone surprised that we now have people going broke? Equity in our homes has been stolen and people in the housing industry will soon have no income to buy pickup trucks, go out for dinner etc. But luckily homes are more affordable! For whom, homeless people and drug addicts?

    • Reply
      Adam 3 years ago

      To have a systemic effect you have to be in power for awhile…how long they been in power? Who has been in power forvthe past decade or so? They only thing the NDP have been chasing away is dirty money.

  • Reply
    Pete 3 years ago

    RBC CEO: “a tough couple years”

    This story’s just getting started.

  • Reply
    Lars Lhard 3 years ago

    Don’t listen to the nattering nabobs of negativity. Let’s enjoy the good times while we can. I know I said all this last July, but it’s worth repeating: May I be the first to wish you all a Happy Holiday.

  • Reply
    Canadian 2 years ago

    The global Covid-19 pandemic and economic collapse will destroy Vancouver home values by 80% within 2 years.

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