When you buy a house, you're not just purchasing a place to live. You're also making an investment in the real estate market. Which means, as your home's value grows, so does your equity. Equity, of course, refers to the amount a property is worth minus the amount still owed on the mortgage. Put simply, if your equity is growing, that's good news. Which is why new numbers from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System are encouraging. That's because they show homeowner equity on the rise. In fact, the total value of homeowner equity has increased $1.2 trillion over the past year and reached $14.4 trillion in the fourth quarter of last year. In short, that means homeowners are seeing the value of their homes, and their investment, grow. Whether you're a current homeowner or are about to become one, this is a positive sign – as it indicates that the real estate market is strengthening and offering Americans a good opportunity to find a place they can, not only call home, but also a good financial decision. More here.