Home-loan borrowers stepped on the gas in December as mortgage growth hit a two-year high, according to the latest figures from the Bank of Canada.
The outstanding home loans held by institutional lenders hit $1.628tn in December, a monthly growth rate of 0.74% and an annual gain of 4.9%.
The speed at which mortgage debts are increasing annually appears to be "accelerating very quickly," Better Dwelling contributing editor Daniel Wong said in an analysis.
"Canadian real estate buyers are back in full force, and pushing debt levels once again," he said.
Aside from clocking the ninth consecutive month of growth, the gains in December were the highest since March 2018. Wong said the rate at which mortgage debt is growing is close to hitting pre-stress test levels.
During the December quarter, the annualised mortgage growth was at 6.7%, the highest level since 2016. Wong said this quarterly annualised growth could point where the market is going.
"The end of the year printed some big numbers for mortgage credit growth. It's skewed a little due to the unnaturally low mortgage growth a year before. Some of this is delayed demand, which should flatten out as the year progresses," he said. "However, it's still the highest level of growth in nearly two years, preparing to climb even further."