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Canada’s national net worth spiked largely because of home prices

Here are some interesting figures from a recent Statistics Canada article about Canada’s national net worth.

In the first quarter of this year, Canada’s national net worth increased by over $1 trillion or 7.7% to reach nearly $15 trillion. This is, as I understand it, record-breaking. National net worth is defined as the sum of national wealth and Canada’s net foreign asset position, the latter of which is assets that Canada owns abroad, minus the value of any domestic assets owned by foreigners. Most of the increase this past quarter was in national wealth.

Here is a chart that speaks to this (quarterly change in national net worth by component). Again, the light blue is national wealth. It is the biggest bar.

On a per capita basis, which is much easier to contextualize, national net worth rose from $365,184 to $392,496.

The other metric that is up is household savings. We’ve talked about this before on the blog, but check out this chart. In the first quarter of this year, it was 13.1%. And at the beginning of the pandemic, back in Q2-2020, it was 27.4%. I believe these figures represent the percentage of after-tax disposable income that is saved. Either way, a double digit savings rate is not typical for Canadians.

So what is driving this increase in national wealth? A big part of it is the value of residential real estate, which increased 9.4% in the first quarter. StatsCan is calling this “unprecedented” but I don’t know how far back they are looking to make this claim.

Because of this, increases in net worth have been, not surprisingly, unequally felt. For households that own their home, net worth increased by over $730 billion last quarter. For households that rent their home, net worth increased by approximately $43 billion. On a per household basis, this translates into net worth increases of approximately $73,000 and $8,000, respectively.

This is a meaningful spread.

For the full Statistics Canada article, click here.

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