Less loans are being originated on U.S. residential properties in the second quarter of 2016 than last year, but it is up significantly from last quarter’s two-year low, according to the Q2 2016 U.S. Residential Property Loan Origination Report released today by ATTOM Data Solutions, housing data provider and the new parent company of RealtyTrac.

The loan origination report is derived from publicly recorded mortgages and deeds of trust collected by ATTOM in more than 950 counties, and accounting for over 80% of the U.S. population.

Total home loan originations increased 26% from last quarter to 1.9 million loans, however it is still down 4% from last year.

On the other hand, home equity lines of credit originations increased for the 17th consecutive month by 5% from last year, according to the report.

“Homeowners are increasingly tapping the home equity that many have built up during the last four years of rapidly rising home prices,” RealtyTrac Senior Vice President Daren Blomquist said.

Matthew Gardner, Windermere Real Estate chief economist, covering the Seattle market talks about the rise in popularity of HELOCs.

“I believe the popularity of HELOCs compared to cash-out refinances is likely due to the fact that interest rates are traditionally lower for HELOCs,” Gardner said. “Additionally, if equity is withdrawn during a refinance, homeowners must begin paying back the funds immediately, whereas a HELOC allows you to use the funds as needed.”

A recent survey by Accenture found that borrowers increasingly view home equity loans as a means of making home improvements, less so as a potential source of cash for unseen challenges.

The decrease in total originations is led by a 12% decrease in refinance applications, marking the second consecutive quarter with an annual decrease.

According to the latest survey released by the Mortgage Bankers Association Wednesday morning, mortgage applications increased 2.8% from one week earlier for the week ending Aug. 26, 2016. Recently, however, there have been a roller coaster of up and down application reports from the MBA.

On the other hand, purchase originations increased 1% from last year, the eighth consecutive quarter with an annual increase.

Many buyers are taking advantage of the low interest rates. Mortgage rates didn’t move this week, hovering near all-time lows as the market remains cautious before gaining more information on the second quarter’s GDP growth, according to Freddie Mac.

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