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Household Wealth Increase - 9/30/15

Americans are collectively getting wealthier.  Rising home values produced a modest increase in total American household wealth during the second quarter of twenty fifteen.  Total household wealth for the quarter ending in June stood at a bit less than eighty six trillion dollars. 

These data come from the Federal Reserve, which announced that the stock portfolios of Americans climbed by sixty one billion dollars during the quarter while housing wealth increased by about half a trillion dollars.  This should be good news for U.S. economic performance.  As indicated by a recent Associated Press article, economists estimate that consumer spending rises three to five cents for each dollar increase in wealth. 

However, the typical family is not necessarily becoming wealthier.  That’s because not everyone owns a home that is increasing in value and not everyone has benefited from rising stock prices since two thousand and nine.  The ten percent wealthiest Americans own about 80 percent of stocks according to New York University economist Edward Wolff.  Meanwhile, Americans are stepping up their borrowing.  Overall household debt increased at its highest pace in a year during the second quarter.

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.