The net wealth of U.S. households rose to $55.63 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2006, and domestic debt grew at a faster rate than in the third quarter, a Federal Reserve report showed on Thursday.
In its quarterly "Flow of Funds" report, the U.S. central bank said household wealth rose $1.38 trillion from a revised $54.25 trillion in the third quarter.
The Fed also said all nonfinancial debt grew by 7.9% after a 6.5% rise in the third quarter.
Household debt rose by 6.6% in the last quarter of 2006, slowing from a 7.5% gain in the third quarter.
Business debt rose 11%, up from a 6.5% gain in the third quarter.
Slower household debt growth in the quarter was more than offset by faster growth of debt for nonfinancial businesses and state and local governments, the Fed said.
For 2006 as a whole, household debt increased 8.5%, about 3 percentage points less than in 2005, the Fed added.
The deceleration of household debt last year was due to much slower growth in household mortgage debt, the Fed said.