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Over $26 trillion in US homeowner equity

Last year was a pretty good year for people who own a home in the US (or in Canada and many other places). Current estimates peg the total value of US residential real estate at somewhere around $40 trillion.

But of course, a lot of this real estate has debt on it. The Federal Reserve considers this in their calculation of “homeowner’s equity,” and so the net number, as of the end of last year, was just over $26 trillion (see above chart). This is up from about $10 trillion in 2012, following the financial crisis.

Not surprisingly, a lot of these gains are accruing to a pretty specific demographic. According to City Observatory, about 67% of residential real estate in the US is owned by non-Hispanic white people. And about 44% of owners are 55 years or older.

Oddly enough, this also happens to be a demographic group with a disproportionate say over the kind of new housing that we’re allowed to build in our cities. Scarcity is a very good thing when you already have and own some.

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