Federal Reserve research shows that steady home appreciation and surging stocks have finally allowed Americans to recover the $16 trillion in wealth they lost during the Great Recession.
The gains are helping to bolster the U.S. economy and could lead to additional spending and growth.
Most of the recovered wealth has come from higher stock prices that have been flowing mainly to wealthier Americans. By comparison, the middle class derives the bulk of its wealth in the form of home equity, which has risen much less.
According to the Fed, household wealth totaled $66.1 trillion as of December 31 - 98 percent of the pre-recession peak. Further increases in stock and home prices this year mean that Americans' net worth has since topped the pre-recession peak of $67.4 trillion, private economists report.