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loanDepot: Vast majority of homeowners wrong about their home values

Battle between perception versus reality

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Just under 50% of homeowners with a mortgage (about 66% of homeowners) in the U.S. expect their equity will increase in 2016, even though about 60% say equity in their homes already increased during the last three years of the housing recovery, according to research conducted for loanDepot.

Of those expecting a change in their equity, about 85% expect it to rise as much as 10%.

More than half, 58%, are expecting their equity to increase between 1% and 5%. The other 27% are expecting an increase between six and 10%. About 3% expect the equity to fall, and 27% say they expect it to remain the same.

Although about 57% of homeowners believe their home’s value appreciated in the past three year. Even so, loanDepot studies show about 80% of them underestimate how much their home value has increased during the housing recovery.

The Standard & Poor's Case Shiller 20-city index shows home values rose twice as much as one in every four homeowners believed.

“Homeowners who bought during the housing boom are regaining equity many thought was lost forever, yet too many are not aware of the equity they have gained or they are unclear about how to determine changes in their equity,” loanDepot chief financial officer Bryan Sullivan said.

“People who bought after the housing boom when prices were low are realizing homeownership can be a great investment and an asset that they can now leverage through equity to realize many dreams,” he said. “Whether they choose to leverage their home equity now or reserve it for future needs, millions of homeowners have choices today not available just a few years ago.”

loanDepot studies have shown that timing has an impact on how homeowners feel about their equity. Those who have bought homes after 2009 are generally more cautious, but more optimistic.

  • More buyers who purchased after 2009 (64%) believe their home has gained value since 2013 compared to 58 percent of pre-2009 owners.
  • More buyers who purchased after 2009 (50%) expect to gain more equity this year compared to 43 percent of pre-2009 buyers. Newer buyers may be more bullish on equity gains because they did not experience drastic losses of equity like their pre-2009 counterparts.
  • More pre-2009 owners (65%) believe they have adequate equity now to take out a home equity loan compared to just over half (52%) of post-2009 buyers.
  • Post-2009 owners are more conservative on using their equity. A majority of owners from both periods say they have always been conservative about accessing their equity, but post-2009 buyers are more so by a margin of 62 to 55 percent.
  • A total of 14% of all homeowners said that the housing crisis has made them more conservative about touching their equity.

At this point, only 16% of homeowners say they do not have enough equity to take out a home equity loan. 59% of homeowners report that they have enough, and the remaining 25% say they don’t know how much equity they would need, or don’t know how to figure out how much equity they currently have.

What the equity loan money would be spent on was focused on home remodeling, of which 39% of homeowners said they would spend their loan on. The other 29% would spend on consolidating high interest rate on credit cards, and the final 18% said they would use it for retirement savings. 

The following video shows what you need in order to figure out your home equity:

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