Falling home prices have shrunk equity so much that the proportion of their homes that Americans actually own is near its lowest point since World War II.
The Federal Reserve says average home equity plunged from more than 61 percent at the start of 2001 to 38 percent in the January-March quarter this year. That drop comes as home prices in big metro areas have reached their lowest level since 2002.
The Fed's quarterly report shows how much wealth, or net worth, Americans have gained or lost. Net worth is the value of assets such as homes and stocks, minus debts like mortgages and credit cards.
Americans' overall net worth grew 1.65 percent in the January-March period, to $58.06 trillion, because of stock market gains.