NEW YORK, Feb 16 (Reuters) - 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 on Thursday.
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 delinquency.
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)