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According to a new report, some of Canada’s richest cities in terms of family wealth may not be the healthiest financially.

For example, households in Toronto and Vancouver typically show high incomes and high wealth, but also high levels of debt, and some cities have a higher proportion of homes at risk from a recession.

The Urban Spotlight report by Prosper Canada and the Canadian Council for Social Development, sponsored by the investment industry regulator IIROC, classifies the overall financial health of households in 35 cities with populations of 100K and above according to the Financial Health Index from the neighborhood.

Calgary and Edmonton are at the top of the Index by a wide margin, while 5 cities could be characterized as “large” with high income and high wealth, but also with a large debt.

These include Toronto and Vancouver as the most extreme examples, but Calgary, Kelowna and Guelph are also in this group.

Nine cities, including some in Quebec along with Halifax, Peterborough, Thunder Bay and Windsor, could be characterized as “with life problems”, with incomes, wealth and debts below average and greater poverty.

Five cities could be described as “with life limitations”, showing a similar pattern but with poverty levels below average. These include Moncton, Saint John, Belleville, Brantford and St. Catherine’s-Niagara.

Cities with a good average income but with high debt and low savings could be well financially at this time, but they can be characterized as “living to the limit” because they are very vulnerable to future increases in interest rates and economic recessions. These cities include St. John’s, Barrie, Oshawa, Regina and Abbotsford-Mission.

Ten cities have total debt to income ratios greater than 150%. These include Saskatoon, Calgary, Guelph, Victoria, Kelowna, Barrie, Oshawa, Toronto, Abbotsford-Mission and Vancouver.

“Urban Spotlight shows that our financial health is strongly influenced by where we live,” said Elizabeth Mulholland, CEO of Prosper Canada. “Assets and debt, not just income, matter when it comes to our overall financial health.”

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source: Canadian Real Estate Magazine