NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Americans got richer in the third quarter even as home values hit the skids after more than a year of increases.
Net worth for households and individuals climbed $1.2 trillion, or 2%, to $54.9 trillion in the third quarter, according to the Federal Reserve's Flow of Funds report released Thursday.
Household wealth had tumbled in the second quarter -- sliding $1.5 trillion between April and June -- after having climbed for four straight quarters. But growth returned in the third quarter thanks to higher stock values, with the S&P rising 11% following a 12% slide in the second quarter.
Corporate equities jumped $939 billion and mutual fund shares gained $378 billion, eclipsing the $698 billion dip in real estate assets -- the first decline in five quarters.
"Today's report shows that households have continued to rebuild their balance sheets throughout Q3, although the boost to net worth was completely due to a strong recovery in the equities market," Theresa Chen, an economist with Barclays Capital, said in a note to clients. "Looking forward, we expect net worth to rise further as overall economic activity increases and the employment outlook improves."
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