U.S. homeowners today are getting richer by the minute, but they are less likely to cash in on their newfound wealth than during previous housing booms. As home values rise, home equity lines of credit, often used to tap home equity, are flatlining, and the overall amount of money people are taking out of their homes is shrinking.
The collective amount of so-called ‘tappable’ equity, which is the appraised value of a home minus the 20 percent most lenders require borrowers to keep as a safety net, grew by 7 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the previous quarter, according to Black Knight, a mortgage software and analytics company. That is the largest single-quarter growth since they began tracking it in 2005. It is up 16.5 percent compared to a year ago.
Homeowners now have a collective $5.8 trillion in tappable equity, the highest volume every recorded and 16 percent above the last home price peak in 2006. The average homeowner with a mortgage gained $14,700 in tappable equity over the past year and has $113,900 available to draw. This is the amount over and above 20 percent of the value of the average home.