Household Wealth in U.S. Continues to Fall According to Federal Reserve

December 20, 2011
By Scott D. Schwartz from Rust, Armenis & Schwartz on December 20, 2011 2:59 PM

Federal Reserve Logo.jpgNorthern California continues to suffer from the effects of the great recession. The Federal Reserve has reported on December 8, 2011 that household wealth in the U.S. fell from July through September for a second straight quarter as the European debt crisis depressed stocks and home values decreased. According to the report, Net worth for households and non-profit groups decreased by $2.45 trillion.

The decline resulted from a fourteen percent slump in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index which is the worst quarter since 2008. This combined with another decrease of real estate values in the third quarter. According to the Federal Reserve, the value of household real estate decreased by $98.3 billion in the third quarter after dropping by $37 billion in the previous three months. Owners' equity as a share of total household real-estate holdings was little changed at 38.7 percent last quarter.

People living in Northern California continue to suffer from the problems identified in the Federal Reserve report. If your income or the value of your property has decreased and you are having financial difficulties, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may assist you. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can discharge your credit card debts. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you reorganize your debts and pay back arrears on your car and house loans.

According to the Federal Reserve, the volume of outstanding home mortgages was $9.93 trillion at the end of the second quarter. According to separate Federal Reserve data, this is the lowest figure since the end of 2006. This means U.S. mortgage debt, a driver of consumer spending during the real estate boom, may be about to enter its fourth year of decline as foreclosures wipe out home loans and housing purchases fall.

The value of financial assets, including stocks and pension fund holdings, held by American households decreased by $2.78 trillion in the third quarter, according to the Federal Reserve flow of funds data. Other forms of consumer credit, including auto and student loans, increased at a 1.2 percent pace.

According to the Federal Reserve report, Americans are reducing debt and rebuilding savings to weather an unemployment rate that has averaged 9 percent this year. Payrolls climbed by 120,000 in November and the jobless rate fell to 8.6 percent, the lowest level since March 2009, the Labor Department said on Dec. 2.

Total non-financial debt last quarter rose at a 4.3 percent annual pace, led by a 14.1 percent increase by the federal government and a 3.5 percent gain among businesses. State and local government borrowing was little changed.

If you live in Northern California and you are having financial difficulty, you should consult with an attorney. We provide free legal consultations for bankruptcy in San Francisco County, Sacramento County, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Stanislaus County, San Joaquin County, Marin County, Solano County and throughout Northern California. Contact us for a free legal consultation today.