The average homeowner with a mortgage gained some $14,700 in tap-able home equity during this last year. Additionally, that same average homeowner with a mortgage has approximately $113,900 from which to draw.

This $5.8T figure represents a 16.5% increase compared to one year ago and a 7% increase, the largest ever, in a single quarter, according to Black Knight, a mortgage software and analytics company that began tracking equity growth in 2005. The last home equity price peak happened in 2006.

80% of homeowners who have tap-able home equity have mortgage interest rates below 4.5%. Of those, 60% have mortgage interest rates below 40%. Today’s interest rates sit at 4.8%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Overall, homeowners with equity are tapping that equity through cash-out refinances, not Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs). HELOC originations are at a two-year low. Just 1.17% of available equity was tapped in Q1 2018.

Why? Some say that homeowners who watched their parents use their equity like an ATM machine paid for that usage with foreclosure. Some say that sales are slowing as prices rise (prices usually follow sales, unlike now) and they want to hang on to that equity. And some say that home confidence surveys are beginning to fall. You choose…but know that today’s homeowners are conservative… and rightfully so. Most have lived through (and been damaged by) the housing crisis 10 years ago.

Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, mirrors that sentiment. He said, “Tight supply and lackluster income growth continue to lean on housing activity. Consumer expectations for home price growth over the next 12 months have moderated.”

That being said, Duncan also indicated that people are still optimistic about the direction of the economy and their own personal financial situations over the next 12 months.


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