September 21, 2017 / 4:14 PM / in a month

U.S. household net worth rises again in second quarter 2017

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The wealth of U.S. households rose to $96.2 trillion in the second quarter of this year as U.S. stock prices hit record highs and home values continued to climb, a report by the Federal Reserve showed on Thursday.

That compares to a slightly downwardly revised $94.5 trillion tally for household net worth in the previous quarter.

Household borrowing rose at a 3.7 percent annual rate in the April-June period, the report also showed, up from a 3.4 percent growth rate in the first quarter. Consumer credit increased 4.6 percent, down from 5.2 percent the previous quarter. Growth in mortgage debt slowed slightly to a 2.8 percent annual rate from 3.4 percent in the prior period.

The United States is currently in its ninth year of economic growth, the third-longest stretch of expansion since World War Two. The unemployment rate stands at 4.4 percent, near the level many economists view as near full employment.

Stocks have more than regained their losses since the 2007-2009 financial crisis and recession. The S&P 500 is at all-time highs, with a year-to-date total return, including reinvested dividends, of around 13 percent.

The Nasdaq is also at a record and has delivered about a 20 percent return since the beginning of the year.

Elsewhere in the Fed’s report, liquid assets held by non-financial firms were $2.26 trillion versus a revised $2.19 trillion in the previous quarter.

The central bank held rates steady on Wednesday, but signaled further confidence in the U.S. economy by announcing it will begin in October to shed its $4.2 trillion bond portfolio mostly amassed in the wake of the Great Recession of 2007-2009.

Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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