By Tiffany Hsu
2:59 PM EST, December 6, 2012
Americans saw their wealth increase by $1.7 trillion in the third quarter ended in September, a promising sign in the thick of the holiday shopping season.
Total household and nonprofit net worth – the difference between the value of assets and liabilities – climbed 2.7% to nearly $64.8 trillion from $63 trillion the previous quarter. A year ago, the gauge was at $58.7 trillion, according to a report Thursday from the Federal Reserve.
Households enjoyed a $301 billion bump in the value of their real estate holdings; the value of stock investments increased as well.
Meanwhile, household debt fell at a 2% annual pace, while mortgage borrowing dropped at a 3% rate. But consumer credit, which includes student and auto loans, increased at a 4.3% annual pace in its eighth straight quarterly increase.
Debt at the local and state government levels stayed flat, but the federal debt rose at a 6.3% annual rate. Total government debt was $14.3 trillion for the quarter.