To understand why home lenders are suddenly dabbling in loans to the credit-impaired, home equity loans for up to 125% of home value, and even small-business loans, consider this:

The nation's pool of first-time homebuyers-typically households headed by 25- to 34-year-olds-is drying up. In 1996 there were 227,000 fewer than in the year before, as most baby boomers headed into their late 30s and 40s.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.