WASHINGTON — Americans' wealth reached an all-time this summer, buoyed by record-setting stock prices and a healthy recovery in home values.
The Federal Reserve says to U.S. net worth, a measure of household wealth, rose 2.6 percent to $77.3 trillion in the July-September quarter. Net worth reflects the value of homes, stocks, bank accounts and other assets minus mortgages, credit cards and other debts.
Rising stock prices boosted Americans' net worth $917 billion. Higher home values added another $428 billion.
Greater net worth can create a "wealth effect," which boosts economic growth by encouraging more households to spend.
But the gains haven't been equally distributed. The wealthiest 10 percent of households own about 80 percent of stocks. And home ownership has declined since the recession, particularly among lower-income Americans.