American borrowing surged last quarter, capping a year when debt levels reached highs not seen since before the recession.
Total household debt jumped by $241 billion from October through December, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released Tuesday. That includes debt for mortgages and credit cards, as well as student and auto loans.
"This quarter is the first time since before the Great Recession that household debt has increased over its year-ago levels suggesting that after a long period of deleveraging, households are borrowing again," said Wilbert van der Klaauw, senior vice president and economist at the New York Fed.
The hike was primarily driven by a $152 billion jump in mortgage debt. Total household debt rose $180 billion, the first yearly increase since 2008.
Despite the increase, American borrowing stands at $11.52 trillion, about 9% below its peak reached in 2008.