NEW YORK Feb 16 U.S. household debt hit near an
all-time high in the fourth quarter, reaching $12.58 trillion,
as credit was more readily available for mortgage, auto and
student loans, a Federal Reserve Bank of New York survey showed
Total debt was up $460 billion from a year ago and is now
just 0.8 percent below an all-time peak of $12.68 trillion in
the third quarter of 2008, before the worst of the financial
crisis and deep recession.
But since the housing market-inspired meltdown, mortgages
have accounted for a smaller share of overall loans. "Since
reaching a trough in mid-2013, the rebound in household debt has
been led by student debt and auto debt, with only sluggish
growth in mortgage debt," Wilbert van der Klaauw, a New York Fed
senior vice president, said in the report.
Some 4.8 percent of the debt was in some stage of
Mortgage debt was $8.48 trillion at the end of the last
quarter, up $231 billion from a year earlier. Student loan debt
stood at $1.31 trillion, up $78 billion from a year ago, while
auto debt hit $1.16 trillion, rising $93 billion in a year.
(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)