Due in part to the rise in home prices over the past few years, tappable homeowner equity rose to its highest level ever in the second quarter of 2018. Data and analytics firm Black Knight, Inc. reports that tappable homeowner equity rose by $256 billion in the second quarter of 2018 to a total gain of $636 billion for 2018. There is now a little over $6 trillion total in tappable homeowner equity across the nation. Black Knight went on to reveal that some 44 million homeowners have equity that could be tapped out via cash out refinances or home equity lines of credit.
Fannie Mae released its Home Purchase Sentiment Index for August, which rose for the first time since May, up 1.5 points to 88. The report showed that the increase in the index was attributed to increases in the job- and income-related components. The net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job rose 15 percentage points to 80% after last month’s steep decline, reaching a new survey high. The net share of those who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose 1 percentage point to 22%, reaching a new survey high for the second consecutive month. On the housing front, the report went on to reveal that the net share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a home fell 3 percentage points from July to August to 21%.
U.S. Stock markets are trying to rebound from last week's decline spurred on by trade tensions with China along with NAFTA issues with Canada. The closely watched S&P 500 Stock Index recently hit a record closing high due in part to a strong economy, a tight labor market, relatively low interest rates and sky-high consumer confidence. In addition, earnings season produced solid gains as after-tax profits across the U.S. jumped 16% in the second quarter of 2018 from the same period in 2017.