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Household Net Worth Hits Record $123.5 Trillion Amid Stock Market Surge



Despite a continuing pandemic and fears of an economic slowdown ahead, the net worth of U.S households has hit a fresh record.

Total American net worth rose to $123.5 trillion in the third quarter, according to Federal Reserve figures released Friday. That’s an increase of $3.8 trillion, or 3.2%, from the second quarter. It’s up 7.6% from the same period a year earlier.

Much of the increase came thanks to a volatile but robust rally on Wall Street, which pushed the value of U.S. personal equity holdings up $2.8 trillion. Real estate values rose a more modest $400 billion amid climbing property values across some big markets as well as suburban areas that have benefited from a flight from U.S. cities.

The increase came amid a strong rebound from the U.S. economy, which saw gross domestic product explode by a post-Depression record 33.1% annual rate during the July-to-September period.

Along with the expansion in total worth, though, came a rise in debt.

Domestic nonfinancial debt rose 5% for the period to just over $60 trillion. That came primarily from a 5.6% expansion in household debt, which would be the biggest increase since 2007. Corporate debt declined 0.9% after respectively increasing 14.2% and 18.6% in the previous two quarters.

Federal government continued its upward trajectory as well, rising 9.1% though that was well off the 58.8% explosion in the second quarter as the government deployed much of the $2.2 trillion in CARES Act rescue funding for an economy crippled by the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

State and local government debt also continued its upswing, rising 5.6% for the quarter.

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