Household wealth climbs as debt inches higher

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By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Household wealth climbed in the second quarter while household debt barely budged, continuing a seesaw pattern as outstanding mortgage obligations declined while auto and student debt mounted, according to data released Wednesday.

Household net worth grew by $1.3 trillion, or 1.8%, to $74.82 trillion, owing to gains in prices that boosted house values by about $525 million as well as a boost of nearly $300 billion from gains in the stock market and mutual funds.

Household debt meanwhile rose a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.2% in the second quarter, the Federal Reserve said in its voluminous “financial accounts of the United States” report that’s also known by its former name, the flow-of-funds report.

That marks the sixth straight quarter in which household debt has wavered between gains and losses.

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