Surge in Car Loans Pushes Auto Debt Above $1 Trillion for First Time

WASHINGTON (Los Angeles Times/TNS) —

New loans for cars and light trucks hit a 10-year high in the second quarter of the year, pushing total auto debt above $1 trillion for the first time, according to government data released Thursday.

Americans took out $119 billion in auto loans from April through June, up from $95 billion in the first quarter of the year, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said in its report on household debt and credit.

Through the first half of the year, auto sales were on pace to challenge the record of 17.4 million set in 2000.

Overall consumer debt rose $2 billion to $11.9 trillion, still about 6.5 percent below the record high reached in 2008.

Mortgage debt, the biggest category, declined by $55 billion in the second quarter to $8.1 trillion, as foreclosures hit the lowest level in the 16 years the New York Fed has calculated them.

It was the second straight quarter that foreclosures reached a new low. There were 95,000 new foreclosures in the second quarter, down from 112,000 in the previous quarter.

Mortgage originations continued to rise after hitting a 14-year low in the second quarter last year. Americans took out $466 billion in new mortgage loans, up from $369 billion in the first quarter.

Credit-card balances increased by $19 billion in the second quarter, to $703 billion. Student-loan debt was essentially flat, rising just $1 billion.

Student-loan debt, which has doubled over the past eight years, was $1.2 trillion as of June 30.

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