Americans’ net worth rose 3.9% in 4Q

By Dow Jones Newswires
Posted March 10 at 11:13 a.m.

The net worth of Americans rose toward the end of last year as stock market portfolios surged, and overall household debt declined as mortgage liabilities waned.

In its “Flow of Funds” data, the Federal Reserve said Thursday that U.S. households’ total net worth rose 3.9 percent in the October through December period, to $56.823 trillion.

Net worth represents total assets such as homes and stock portfolios, minus liabilities such as mortgages and credit card debt. Rising stock market assets offset declines in real estate holdings in the third quarter, the Fed report showed.

The Fed report also said total debt in the U.S. non-financial sectors grew 5.1 percent in the fourth quarter, boosted by increased government and business debt.

Household debt fell by about 0.5 percent, the 11th straight quarterly decline.

Home mortgage debt fell 1.25 percent while consumer credit rose 2.0 percent.

Another Fed report this week showed that consumers added to their non-mortgage debts for the fourth-straight month in January, driven by loans for autos, boats and education. But credit-card debt fell to a new six-year low as consumers continued to pay down debt or default on loans.

U.S. consumers have been ramping up their purchases of big-ticket items, though the economy has remained relatively weak–held back by a troubled housing market and high unemployment.

The “Flow of Funds” report Thursday said household net worth edged up to about 4.9 times disposable personal income in the fourth quarter from about 4.8 times income in the third quarter.

Read more about the topics in this post: , ,

Comments are closed.