American Wealth Closes in on Pre-Recession Levels

by Christopher Freeburn | December 10, 2013 9:21 am

cash_rich 630[1]On Monday, the Federal Reserve said that four years after the recession ended, the net worth of Americans has almost recovered from the steep drop it took during the economic downturn[2].

The nation’s central bank said that between July and September, a rising home prices added $428 billion to the net worth of American households, while a surging stock market gave them another $917 billion. Overall, the U.S. household net worth climbed 2.6% to $77.3 trillion, about 1% less than the high reached prior to the economic crisis, the New York Times notes.

Better still, given that home prices and the stock market continued to post gains after September, the net worth of American households is likely to surge again during the fourth quarter.

As U.S. household wealth rises, Americans are more willing to take on debt. Consumer debt — loans and credit cards — increased 6% compared to the prior quarter. For the first time since 2009 mortgage debt posted a quarterly rise, up 0.9%.

While debt is rising, its percentage of after-tax income has fallen from 125% prior to the recession, to 99% during the third quarter.

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  2. almost recovered from the steep drop it took during the economic downturn:

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