That money could be used for anything, Fabian noted, but he suggested education costs for younger family members and down payments on children's or grandchildren's homes as two likely possibilities.
And those mortgage numbers may only be scratching the surface, as they don't include reverse mortgages or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)— two options that are favoured by older homeowners with a lot of equity in their properties.
Excluding HELOCs and reverse mortgages, the share of mortgages being taken out by Canada's most elderly citizens is still small — about 2.5 per cent of the total. But they are still taking out five times as many as those in Generation Z, those aged 18 to 23.
Overall, TransUnion's numbers show the same trend other recent data have shown: Canadian consumers' borrowing binge is slowing down.
The total number of new mortgages issued was down 3.8 per cent in the second quarter compared to a year earlier, but non-mortgage debt, including credit cards and HELOCs, was up 3.9 per cent.
There were also large regional differences in the data. The number of new mortgages dropped a hefty 17.6 per cent in Toronto in the first quarter, as the city underwent a housing correction, while Vancouver mortgages stayed flat, rising 0.8 per cent in a year.
The TransUnion report also noted mortgage growth in Ottawa (up 8.4 per cent) and Montreal (up 5.2 per cent). Both cities have seen something of a real estate boom this year.
Noting that debt delinquencies continue to decline, Fabian said Canadians are handling their debt well, overall.
"Generally it's a positive sign for us," he said. "We think consumers are being largely responsible with their debt."