Do you notice that pile of cash you’re sitting on right now?
I’m not joking. 42 million homeowners with mortgages have equity in their homes right now.
When added up, tappable home equity recently reached $5.5 trillion. That’s about $3 trillion more than when the housing market bottomed out in 2012. “Tappable equity” here is defined as the amount a homeowner could borrow before they hit 80% of debt to value.
Not surprisingly, many homeowners are looking to tap into these hidden reserves. As just one sign of this, mortgage applications are up 4.1% this January over last year. That’s mostly been driven by mortgage refinances, as homeowners are looking to take advantage of low (but increasing) rates to take out some of that equity as cash.
Another option to a mortgage refinance is a home equity line of credit (HELOC), a kind of checking account on your home. While HELOCs have been growing in popularity, they’ve hit a slight snag recently because the new tax bill eliminates the deductions for interest paid on such lines of credit.
What are homeowners who tap into their equity actually doing with the extra cash? Most people are spending it on making their homes even more valuable. According to one survey, 80% of borrowers would consider using that cash to renovate their home.
However, other homeowners are using their home equity to cover education expenses, to pay down other debt, or investing in stocks, real estate, or cryptocurrencies.
So should you tap into your home equity?
I can’t say either yes or no. It’s something you’ll have to decide on your own. However, if you have any questions or would like us to take a look at your specific situation to see what your best move is, we would be glad to help. Don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email any time.