The NYT had an article discussing a release of data on household debt by the NY Fed. The article noted that debt rose rapidly and highlighted the increase in mortgage debt in the fourth quarter, the first since before the downturn.

Actually, the main reason that mortgage debt increased in the fourth quarter, as compared to declines in prior quarters, was due to a lower rate of write-downs of bad debt. There was no surge in new mortgage debt in the fourth quarter.

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