A total of 797,865 Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) were originated nationwide in the 12 months ended June 2014, up 20.6% from a year ago and the highest mark since the 12 months ending June 2009, according to RealtyTrac's U.S. Home Equity Line of Credit Trends Report released Thursday.
"This recent rise in HELOC originations indicates that an increasing number of homeowners 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," said Daren Blomquist. "Nearly 10 million homeowners nationwide, representing 19% of all homeowners with a mortgage, now have at least 50% equity in their homes, according to RealtyTrac data. Meanwhile the percentage of homeowners with severe negative equity has decreased from 29% in the second quarter of 2012 to 17% in the second quarter of this year."
Blomquist said the rise in HELOCs also reflects a natural evolution for a lending industry looking for products to offer homeowners who already have refinanced their first position loan into a low fixed rate.
"A HELOC enables homeowners to leverage additional equity they may have gained since refinancing while still preserving the rock-bottom interest rate on their first position loan," he said.
The RealtyTrac U.S. Home Equity Line of Credit Trends Report provides counts of HELOC loans originated and the HELOC share of total loans originated using mortgage and deed of trust records collected in more than 900 counties nationwide with a combined population of more than 240 million, representing 78% of the U.S. population.