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Canadian household debt on the rise: report

A recent report shows Canadians aren’t heeding experts’ advice to rein in spending and pay down debt.

A study by credit reporting firm TransUnion shows Canadian non-mortgage debt rose to $26,221 in the second quarter of this year. That marks a 0.74 per cent increase from the first quarter of 2012 and a 2.41 per cent jump from a year earlier.

The rise marks the highest level of non-mortgage debt in nearly a decade, the firm says. TransUnion has been tracking the variable since 2004.

TransUnion noted Canadians are managing the rising level of personal debt with delinquency rates on the decline.

“It’s quite possible that this is a trend that will continue as consumers take advantage of the low interest environment. However, if there are any sudden economic shifts such as a significant rise in unemployment, then it’s quite conceivable that delinquencies will rise with debt levels,” TransUnion said in a statement Thursday.

Lines of credit represent the largest type of debt Canadians carry, according to the report. In the second quarter, Canadians carried an average of $33,721 in debt on lines of credit; $22,493 on installment loans, $18,881 on car loans; and $3,556 on credit cards.