Saturday, September 5th5.9°C
27106
26758

Higher stock prices and home price gains lift US household wealth to record $80 trillion

WASHINGTON - A surging stock market and rebounding home prices boosted Americans' wealth to a record in the final three months of last year, though both trends have slowed so far in 2014.

Household net worth jumped nearly $3 trillion during last year's fourth quarter to $80.7 trillion. Stock and mutual fund portfolios gained nearly $1.7 trillion, or 9 per cent, according to a Thursday report by the Federal Reserve.

The value of Americans' homes rose just over $400 billion, a 2 per cent gain. And checking account balances, pensions plan assets and retirement savings, such as 401(k)s, also increased.

Strong wealth gains tend to trigger more consumer spending, a critical fuel for economic growth. Higher household net worth is one reason economists have forecast that the U.S. economy will accelerate later this year.

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

Last year, home prices nationwide rose by the most in eight years. And the Standard & Poor's 500 index of large stocks jumped 32 per cent. So far this year, home-price gains have slowed, and the S&P 500 has risen just 1.4 per cent.

The Great Recession hammered Americans' net worth, cutting their overall wealth to $55.6 trillion in the first quarter of 2009. That was 19 per cent below the pre-recession peak of $68.8 trillion.

U.S. wealth has since recovered. But households haven't benefited equally. Much of the rebound stems from stock market gains. Yet roughly 10 per cent of households own about 80 per cent of stocks. Most middle-class wealth stems from home ownership, and house prices nationwide remain below the peak reached in the spring of 2006.

Still, rising wealth and an improving economy are encouraging more Americans to take on debt, which can be a sign of confidence. Total household debt ticked up 0.4 per cent in the quarter, mostly because Americans took out more auto and student loans.

___

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

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

26416


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX13478.31-118.10
S&P CDNX552.61-1.14
DJIA16102.38-272.38
Nasdaq4683.92-49.58
S&P 5001921.22-29.91
CDN Dollar0.7532-0.0047
Gold1120.70-3.00
Oil45.67-1.08
Lumber234.00+1.10
Natural Gas2.658-0.067

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.215-0.005
Knighthawk0.010.00
QHR Technologies Inc1.24+0.00
Cantex0.04-0.01
Anavex Life Sciences1.36+0.25
Metalex Ventures0.05-0.00
Russel Metals21.23+0.14
Copper Mountain Mining0.59-0.01
Colorado Resources0.075-0.010
ReliaBrand Inc0.0045+0.0005
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.02+0.00
Mission Ready Services0.07-0.01
Decisive Dividend Corp2.62+0.12

 



27218

FEATURED Property
23546075165 PADA Road
5 bedrooms 3 baths
$1,098,888
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


The ball and chain

I have been pleasantly surprised of late to speak with business owners who understand the impact of fixed versus variable costs. A fixed cost is one that must be paid each and every month regardless o...


Where does the money go?

Photo: Thinkstock.comOne of the major components of business relationships that involve money are the fees in the investment industry. There is currently a quiet battle being waged between the practit...


Agree to ask questions

Photo: Thinkstock.comThe STORY: I think, said Janet to herself, that I just figured out a solution to my problem of letting the prospect run the meeting.With that thought in mind, she got out of her c...

_








Member of BC Press Council


27373