U.S. Household Wealth Reaches New High of $85.7 Trillion

WASHINGTON (AP) -

Rising home values drove a modest increase in Americans’ household wealth to a new high of $85.7 trillion in the April-June quarter.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that Americans’ stock portfolios climbed $61 billion in value, while housing wealth increased $499 billion. Total household wealth is up from $85 trillion in the first quarter.

The Fed’s figures aren’t adjusted for population growth or inflation. Household wealth, or net worth, reflects the value of homes, stocks and other assets minus mortgages, credit cards and other debts.

Americans also stepped up borrowing, a sign of confidence in the economy.

Total mortgage debt grew at the fastest level since the recession ended in 2009. Overall household debt, which includes mortgages, student loans, auto loans and credit-card debt, increased at the fastest pace in a year.

The jump in mortgage lending reflects the fact that home sales are rising at a solid pace, and that fewer sales are being made to investors and wealthy individuals, who frequently pay cash for homes. Sales of existing homes have risen nearly 10 percent in the past year and have reached pre-recession levels.

Household net worth has steadily recovered after the Great Recession wiped out nearly $13 trillion in wealth. Total net worth has far surpassed the pre-recession peak of almost $68 trillion.