Man holding a credit card, typing on laptop, online shopping

Mortgage borrowing is slowing alongside the housing market, but credit card debt has now surpassed pre-pandemic levels as households grapple with rising expenses, Statistics Canada reports.

The national statistical agency reported that total household debt rose by 0.3% ($7.5 billion) in November to $2.8 trillion.

Mortgage debt was up 0.3% in the month, and non-mortgage debt grew by 0.2%.

However, credit card debt rose by 0.9% in the month to a new high, topping its previous peak in February 2020, just before Covid-19 hit.

The growth in credit card debt for November followed a 1.7% increase in October.

“Certain households may have been more reliant on credit card debt to meet short-term obligations as increasing interest rates and inflationary pressures affected households’ ability to manage their debt,” StatsCan said.

Mortgage debt experienced its sixth straight month of slower growth, the agency said, noting that the volume of existing home sales declined by 3.5% in November, and average selling prices declined for the eighth time in nine months.

New home prices were also down 0.2% in the month, its third straight monthly decline, StatsCan reported.