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Equifax Canada says consumer delinquencies climbed higher in the fourth quarter of 2018, and the credit monitoring company warns that rising delinquency rates are likely to become the norm this year.

It says the 90-day mortgage delinquency rate rose by 1.5% from the fourth quarter of 2017 to 0.18% at the end of last year.

The comparable non-mortgage rate was up 0.4% to 1.07%.

Equifax says total Canadian consumer debt including mortgages increased to nearly $1.91 trillion in the fourth quarter, up from $1.82 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The average non-mortgage debt for consumers was $23,520, up 3% compared with a year earlier.

“Bankruptcies are up 15% in the last half of 2018, and the small increase in delinquency rates mask some underlying weakness,” Equifax Canada vice-president Bill Johnston said in a statement.

“Rising delinquency is likely to become the norm in 2019.”