TORONTO - TransUnion says a spike in borrowing over the past year has led millennials to overtake boomers in total debt holdings as part of a generational shift.
The credit reporting agency says total millennial debt was up by 12.3 per cent at mid-year compared with a year ago to hit $515.9 billion, just ahead of the $514.3 billion owed by boomers but still behind the $767.4 billion held by Gen X.
Younger borrowers helped push overall consumer debt up 4.3 per cent at the end of the second quarter compared with last year to $1.88 trillion, while debt held by boomers declined.
The rising debt loads came even as lenders issued 8.9 per cent fewer new mortgages in the first quarter, and 1.6 per cent fewer auto loans, though the number of lines of credit was up 13.9 per cent.
Average mortgage debt went up 3.56 per cent year over year to $269,274, while the average consumer balance on instalment loans rose 7.38 per cent to $34,168 as younger borrowers took on more loans in the category.
TransUnion says low unemployment and stable interest rates have helped keep delinquencies low even as debts rose, but the risk of a slowing economy means borrowers will have to manage carefully going forward.