Markets & Economy

Rise in homeowner equity continues to stabilize housing market

An incoming tide raises all ships
  • Increasing home equity will lead to increasing demand from move-up buyers.
  • Equity growth acts as a cushion against unforeseen contraction in home prices.
  • Increasing equity allows owners to spend more, potentially growing the U.S. economy.

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Every quarter, the U.S. Federal Reserve releases its report regarding the financial accounts of the United States. Although this is a very lengthy and detailed analysis, it does contain some interesting statistics on housing. The particular “nuggets” that I look for relate to the total value of residential real estate, mortgage debt and, rather importantly, details regarding homeowner equity. The chart below shows all of these datasets dating back to 2000, and the results are rather fascinating. With regard to total real estate values, you can clearly see the pre-bubble run-up and subsequent burst that followed. From its peak figure of $22.5 trillion at the end of 2006, home values lost an enormous $6.4 trillion in value by mid-2011.   Housing Value, Equity & Debt However, what is even more interesting is that by the end of 2015, home values had regained almost all of the value they lost in previous years and now stand at $22.03 trillion. A price recovery is...