Private pensions was the second-largest asset category at 29.2 per cent of assets, rising 17.7 per cent from 2012 to $3.5 trillion, in determining the net worth of Canadian families, says Statistics Canada.
The majority of this growth came from employer-sponsored registered pension plans which increased 17.4 per cent to $2.3 trillion in 2016. For those Canadians holding these plans, the median value rose 20.1 per cent to $156,200. The median net worth of Canadian families was $295,100 in 2016, up 14.7 per cent from 2012 ($257,200), the last time the survey was conducted. The 2016 median was more than double that of 1999 ($144,500).
Housing is both the largest asset and the largest debt for Canadians. In 2016, 61.7 per cent of Canadian families reported a principal residence as an asset and 57.3 per cent of these families reported holding a mortgage on their principal residence. Housing accounted for more than one-third of the total value of assets. For those who owned their principal residence, the median reported value was $349,000, up 10.3 per cent from 2012 and double that of 1999.
Overall, 29.6 per cent of Canadian families were debt-free in 2016. The share was highest among senior-led families, where 58 per cent were debt-free. However, this was down from 1999 when 72.6 per cent of senior-led families were debt-free. Mortgage debt, on principal residences and all other real estate such as cottages, remained the top debt incurred by Canadians in 2016. Total mortgage debt rose by $330 billion, up 30.4 per cent from 2012 and 196 per cent higher compared with 1999.