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Americans have the highest amount of tappable equity in history

There is now more than $6 trillion for the taking, but fewer homeowners are touching it

The amount of home equity accessible to America’s 44 million homeowners has surpassed $6 trillion – the highest level in history.

Now, Americans have three times as much equity as they did when the market bottomed out in 2012.

And they have 21% more than they did at before the bubble burst in 2006.

Yet, fewer appear to be taking advantage of this major source of wealth.

According to a study released Monday by Black Knight, equity withdrawals through cash-out refinances and HELOCs were down 3% from last year, marking the lowest share of equity withdrawn since Q1 2014 (when rates were also rising).

Withdrawals using new HELOCs were down 4%.

“This time last year, 1.36% of available equity was being tapped, suggesting rising rates may be suppressing equity utilization by approximately 17%,” Black Knight said.

“Following that logic, homeowners tapped about $13 billion less equity this year than they might have otherwise, including $8 billion in would-be HELOC originations and $5 billion fewer cash-out refinances in Q2 2018 alone.”

The study also revealed that the rate of equity growth has slowed, even though it has reached a record high. In Q1 it grew by $308 billion, but Q2 only saw an increase of $256 billion.

According to the report, slow home price growth in the country’s most equity-rich markets are the culprit.

California’s home price gain was down 43% in Q2, while Seattle dropped 60% according to the report.



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