Your Friendly Neighborhood Economist

Overall household wealth has recovered to its precrash levels, but the composition of that wealth has changed. A lot. The percentage of average gross household wealth that is home equity (the greatest portion of total wealth for most households) has fallen by over 7 percentage points, from about 39% to about 32% since 2005. So there has been a redistribution of wealth upwards. This is also bad news for the recovery, since decreases in home equity cause greater drops in spending than changes in financial assets (stocks and bonds).