Greater confidence among Americans has led to a surge in household debt not seen since the recession began, according to new figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and student loans together rose $241 billion, or 2.1 percent, to a total of $11.52 trillion between October and December. It is the biggest quarterly rise since 2007.
Young people are especially borrowing more—younger age groups drove balance increases for almost every type of loan.
The exception is student loans—even older students have increased their borrowing, according to a post on the New York Fed's Liberty Street blog.
Student loan balances have grown more than any other loan type in percentage term. Outstanding student loan balances were up $53 billion to $1.08 trillion in the fourth quarter.
Auto loans rose by $80 billion, and balances on credit cards balances rose by $4 billion over the previous year.
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Mortgage balances, which form the bulk of household debt, grew $16 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013 from a year earlier. A decline in the number of bankruptcies and foreclosures mostly fueled the increase.