Eye on Housing's Michael Neal reports on the Federal Reserve Board’s first quarter 2016 release of its Financial Accounts of the United States report, which showed that household holdings of real estate, measured on a not seasonally adjusted basis, totaled $22.524 trillion in the first quarter of 2016. That number is up $1.140 trillion from it's level in the first quarter of the previous year of $21.113 trillion.

Home mortgage debt outstanding also increased, posting a $136.4 billion jump to $9.511 trillion in the first quarter of 2016. Home equity held by households grew since the total value of household-held real estate rose faster than the aggregate amount of mortgage debt outstanding. Total home equity held by households grew by $1.275 trillion, 10.9%, to $13.014 trillion over the year, making home equity 57.8% of total household-held real estate.

Historically, the total amount of mortgage debt outstanding has tracked the amount of mortgage originations. Between 1995 and 2008, the total amount of mortgage debt outstanding rose from $273 billion in 1995 to $852 billion in 2008, an increase of 211%. Meanwhile, the dollar value of mortgage originations rose by 321%, from $13 billion in 1995 to $54 billion in 2008.

However, there was a disconnect between the trend in mortgage debt outstanding and that of mortgage originations over the period inclusive of the last recession. Between 2007 and 2009, the amount of mortgage originations fell from $74 billion to $34 billion before recovering to $65 billion by 2011. Instead of the decline experienced by 1-4 family mortgage debt outstanding multifamily mortgage debt outstanding was largely flat, rising between 2007 and 2008 but remaining nearly constant between 2008 and 2011.

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