Miniature House on A Financial Graph

While Canadians ramped up mortgage debt in 2020, they curbed other sorts of borrowing, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

In a year that saw a surge in existing home sales, households also added more than $118 billion in mortgage debt, the national statistical agency reported.

In 2020, existing home sales rose 12.6% year over year, and mortgage debt increased 7.6%, StatsCan said.

At the same time, non-mortgage debt was down 1.5% over the course of the year.

“Unlike with mortgage borrowing, households ended 2020 with nearly $12 billion less in non-mortgage debt than at the beginning the year,” StatsCan said, noting that December was the eighth-straight month that registered a year-over-year decline in non-mortgage borrowing.

Total household borrowing finished the year at $2.46 trillion. Mortgage debt and home equity lines of credit reached $1.93 trillion, StatsCan reported.

Additionally, the agency noted that non-financial private corporations reduced their bank borrowing for eight straight months from April through November 2020.

In December, though, borrowing ticked up, rising by more than $5 billion.

The federal government outpaced the banks in December with an additional $7 billion in lending to non-financial private corporations, amid the expansion of one of the government’s pandemic support initiatives: the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provided financing to “several hundred thousand businesses” in December, StatsCan said.

Overall, total credit liabilities of private non-financial corporations totalled $2.76 trillion by the end of 2020.