HELOC volume takes a tumble

But expert says 2019 should see a rebound

After soaring to a near 10-year high, HELOC originations took an unexpected tumble in the third quarter, falling 14% from the previous quarter and 11% from the year before.

According to the latest U.S. Residential Property Mortgage Origination Report from ATTOM Data Solutions, a total of 313,744 residential HELOCs were originated in Q3.

HELOC origination decreased year over year in 67% of the metropolitan statistical areas analyzed in the report.

Several major metros saw their HELOC volume drop, including New York (down 14%), Los Angeles (down 18%), Seattle (down 3%), Chicago (down 27%) and Philadelphia (down 16%).

Among those areas that defied the trend and posted gains were Miami (up 4%), Tampa-St. Petersburg (up 22%), Kansas City (up 20%), Orlando (up 3%) and Omaha (up 11%).

Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions, said that he was surprised to see HELOC volume drop in Q3 after such a strong run. In Q2, volume soared to the highest level since 2008.

But Blomquist said he is optimistic that HELOC originations will rebound in the coming year.

“I would expect the gradual, long-term upward trend in HELOC originations that we’ve seen over the past eight years continue in 2019,” he said.

“Homeowners are sitting on a huge amount of equity thanks to record homeownership tenure and rising home prices, albeit at a slower pace in recent months,” Blomquist added. “The rising mortgage rates we’ve seen this year should make HELOCs a more attractive option than cash-out refinances for tapping home equity for many homeowners.”

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