Home equity lines of credit surged nearly 20 percent compared to a year ago and are now at the highest level since the 12 months ending in June 2009, according to RealtyTrac’s Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) Trends Report. HELOC originations comprised 15.4 percent of all loan originations nationwide during the first eight months of the year, the highest percentage since 2008.
“This recent rise in HELOC originations indicates that an increasing number of home owners are gaining confidence in the strength of the housing recovery and, more importantly, have regained much of their home equity lost during the housing crisis,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
Nearly 10 million home owners nationwide, representing 19 percent of all home owners with a mortgage, have regained at least 50 percent equity in their homes, RealtyTrac data shows. Meanwhile the percentage of home owners with severe negative equity has fallen from 29 percent in the second quarter of 2012 to 17 percent in the second quarter of this year, Blomquist notes.
Despite home equity lines of credit rising significantly in the past year, they still remain 76 percent below the 2006 peak reached during the housing boom, RealtyTrac notes.