Reproduced with permission...
The information herein seems subtle at first glance. There are two things happening: 1) homeowners are taking out new home equity lines of credit, and 2) homeowners are using more of their existing credit lines. Underlying this, there is more equity available to tap into.
Home equity payments up – first time since 2007
The total number of home equity installment loans fell 43 percent over the past four years – from 7.7 million in August 2007 to 4.4 million in August 2012. The nation’s total home equity balances fell with it, declining 49 percent from a $278 billion peak in September 2007 to $143 billion in August 2012.
The August increase, however, indicates a positive change in direction.
“The residential real estate market finally seems to be finding solid ground,” says Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews Cutts. “We’re seeing signs that the contraction in mortgage debt is slowing, and delinquencies continue to trend down at the same time that mortgage rates set new record lows on almost a weekly basis. The environment has been set for growth for a while – now it looks like it may finally be happening.”
New Mexico led the nation in the growth of home equity installment loans with both the largest gain in dollar balances (2.3 percent) and number of loans (1.7 percent) outstanding.
Florida ranked No. 4 in its dollar value of home equity installment loans, rising 1.9 percent. California (2.3 percent) came in second, followed by Nevada (2.1) and Colorado (2.0 percent).
Florida (1.6 percent) came in second for the number of new loans by percentage, however. Nevada (1.5 percent), California (1.35) and Colorado (1.3 percent) rounded out the top five.
Delinquency rates have been stable in a narrow band in recent months on home equity accounts, Equifax’s report says, though loan write-offs grew in August as well.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or has investments in 18 countries and is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index.
© 2012 Florida Realtors®