The third quarter 2019 Financial Accounts of the United States, the Federal Reserve’s flow of funds data, show the aggregate values of households’ assets and liabilities in the nation. Households’ real estate assets totaled $29.2 trillion and liabilities totaled $10.5 trillion, making homeowners’ equity $18.7 trillion or 64% of total household real estate.
The data show a continuation of the decrease in the quarterly growth rate of the market value of real estate assets that began in the second quarter of this year. In the latest quarter, households’ assets grew at less than half of a percent (0.3%) while in the second quarter of 2019, assets grew at approximately 0.4%.
These reduced growth rates stand in contrast to those exhibited over the last seven years, which revealed 1- to 2 1/2 % quarterly rates. This deceleration reflects the housing slowdown that affected the market at the end of 2018 and the start of 2019, but that slowdown has now ended.
Households mortgages have been growing slowly, at less than 1% every quarter. On a policy level, the Federal Reserve had expressed interest in engineering a “soft landing” in Wednesday’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting, where, after three rate cuts (signifying a mid-cycle adjustment), it decided not to change rates. Inflationary pressures have not been significant and persistent enough for rate hikes to continue, according to Fed Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The developments in households’ market values will be one of many measures for the Fed to consider in making its next policy moves.