Expanded American Wealth Depends on Stimulus Boost to Home, Stock Prices

So, don't get used to it


The central bank's massive cash injections have helped Americans build up record wealth via home and stock prices. But those gains haven't been shared equally, while recent market jitters highlight the risks of weaning the economy off such stimulus.

Net worth in Q1 surged by $3 trillion from the prior quarter to $70.4 trillion, finally surpassing the pre-recession peak, the Federal Reserve said Thursday. The quarterly dollar increase also was the biggest since the end of 1999.

Households continued, on balance, to trim debt, while the value of their real estate assets climbed by $762 billion, as the Fed's quantitative easing swelled demand for homes and pushed up prices.