Canadians Owe in Record Numbers

Folks across Canada are in hock like never before, according to figures released Thursday morning by Statistics Canada.

The agency reports Canadians owe $1.71 for every dollar of disposable income they had in the third quarter of 2017, the highest amount on record.

The nation's number crunchers said that Canadian households owed more than $2.1 trillion at the end of September, up 1.4% from the summer. Mortgages were the biggest chunk of that debt, up 1.5% in the previous three months to $1.3 trillion

Since so much of Canada's debt picture is tied to real estate, changes in the housing market have an impact on the closely watched debt to income ratio. And experts say that despite the record high, there's reason to think it could inch down in the new year.

That's because starting in January new stress test rules for insured mortgages come in that will make it harder for some people to get a mortgage, which will limit demand and possibly reduce overall debt levels.

But for now, there's evidence that buyers are rushing to buy before the rules kick in, which is pushing up debt loads and debt ratios at least in the short term.