West, East coasters top savers in Canada

Canadians drew down $2,901 per household in 2014

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While Canadians in most provinces are dipping into their savings, residents of British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador are on average putting away more funds than the rest of the country, says a new study.

Canadians drew down an average of $2,901 per household in 2014, according to WealthScapes 2015 data.

In contrast, residents of B.C. put away $3,705 per household—the most in the entire country. The high savings rates were mostly seen in Vancouver, likely encouraged by the costly down-payments required to buy a home in the city’s hot real estate market.

Households in Newfoundland and Labrador, meanwhile, enjoyed net savings of $1,075. This was likely caused by the 4.7% rise in household incomes—twice the national average—prompted by strong economic activity in the province’s flourishing mining, oil and gas sectors.

The rest of us can congratulate ourselves for one thing, however. Credit card debt only rose by 0.3% in 2014, which is 1.2% lower than the inflation rate. Canadians as a whole also shied away from borrowing from lines of credit, and saw balances actually decline by 1.1%. But personal loan balances, meaning auto loans, student loans and debt consolidation, increased by 5.2%.

Other interesting findings from WealthScapes 2015:

  1. Surprise, surprise: Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto are still the richest cities

The average household net worth in these three cities ranges are all in the low to mid $800,000s. Edmonton edged its way up there as the second-fastest growing city in terms of net-worth, fuelled by high savings rates. Edmonton households put away an average of $4,290 per household.

  1. Montreal faces challenges

Montreal households have the lowest net worth out of the 10 largest cities in the country, at $459,231. This is largely due to lacklustre real estate growth. While the city’s households managed to control their debt, they were drawing down an average of $9,721 in liquid assets.

  1. Despite its economy, Alberta is doing okay

The drop in oil prices shook up the province in the final quarter of 2014, but household finances don’t seem to have taken a hit just yet. The average household income in this prairie province is $116,530, or 25% higher than Ontario’s.

  1. The lowest net worth sees highest growth

Groups with the top net worth (provide the dollar range for each if possible) in Canada saw below-average growth in their finances, whereas the lowest group saw a 9.3% increase in net worth. The bottom two lower-net worth Canadian household groups were actively saving in 2014, whereas wealthier Canadians were splurging and taking an average of $16,638 per household out of their savings.

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