Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published June 5, 2014 at 12:34 PM | Page modified June 6, 2014 at 3:27 AM

  • Share:
             
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

US household wealth hit high in first quarter

Rising stock markets and home prices helped lift U.S. household wealth to a record in the first three months of the year.


AP Economics Writer

advertising

WASHINGTON —

Rising stock markets and home prices helped lift U.S. household wealth to a record in the first three months of the year.

The Federal Reserve said Thursday that household net worth increased $1.5 trillion in the first quarter to $81.8 trillion. The gain was driven by higher home prices, which boosted Americans' home values $758 billion. A rising, if choppy, stock market pushed up stock and mutual fund holdings $361 billion.

Checking account balances, pensions plan assets and retirement savings, such as 401(k)s, also rose.

The Fed's figures aren't adjusted for population growth or inflation. And the wealth is flowing mainly to affluent Americans: Roughly 10 percent of households own about 80 percent of stocks.

Since the first quarter ended, stock and home prices have risen further, boosting household wealth even higher.

Still, the rise in wealth could benefit the broader economy. Consumers who feel richer because of larger stock portfolios or rising home values typically spend more.

Household wealth, or net worth, reflects the value of homes, stocks, bank accounts and other assets minus mortgages, credit cards and other debts.

The Great Recession battered Americans' net worth. Overall wealth fell to $55.6 trillion in the first quarter of 2009, 19 percent below the pre-recession peak of $68.8 trillion.

Since then, a surging stock market and rising home prices have rebuilt the lost wealth and pushed it to new highs. That's given many people more confidence to borrow. Total household debt rose 2 percent in the first quarter, mostly because of rising student and auto loans.

___

Contact Chris Rugaber on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/ChrisRugaber



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

Also in Business & Technology

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Where in the world are Seahawks fans?

Where in the world are Seahawks fans?

Put your marker on The Seattle Times interactive map and share your fan story.

Advertising

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►