Home Equity Skyrockets as Owners Refinance Their Way out of Mortgage Debt

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The signs of improvement in the housing market are welcome news at Waterfront Properties and Club Communities.

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Another promising sign the housing market is stabilizing – especially Southeast Florida real estate – is the recent 3.4-percent increase in U.S. home sales.

Homeowners in the United States finally are digging themselves out of their mortgage holes.

Home equity lines of credit, which evaporated for many after 2008, rose for the first time in four years to $6.7 trillion, representing a whopping 7.3-percent gain, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg’s extensive analysis revealed home equity in the United States amounted to more than 40 percent of total property value in the first quarter of 2012 – a ratio that hasn’t been seen since the third quarter of 2008.

The stimulation is the result of a rally of refinancing. Homeowners, taking advantage of low interest rates, are borrowing money to reduce their principal payments. The proof: Applications to refinance are as high as they have been in three years.

While debt is not dead, it’s definitely down, said Richard DeKaser, deputy chief economist at the Parthenon Group in Boston. DeKaser said the news is a promising sign the housing market is floating back down to earth after the bubble burst and left millions of buyers owing rather than owning.

While mortgages were a dime a dozen in early 2000s – peaking at a ridiculous $10.6 trillion in 2007 – today, they are viewed as a risk to be avoided, he said.

Paul Miller, managing director of FBR Capital Markets in Arlington, Va., agreed buyer sentiment is shifting. Miller said homeowners no longer are willing to be saddled with mortgage debt and have taken action to pay it off.

Federal Reserve data shows the $10.6 trillion figure has dropped 7 percent.

In addition to paying off principals, Americans are choosing to shorten their loans to 15 years, from the usual 30. Bloomberg reports the average life of a loan is 27 years, down from 29. Those sticking with 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages are getting them cheap: The rate is hovering at 3.71 percent.

Another promising sign the housing market is stabilizing – especially Southeast Florida real estate – is the recent 3.4-percent increase in U.S. home sales reported by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies in “State of the Nation’s Housing.”

Now that the worst is in the past – and statistics show that to be the case – investing sensibly in property that is sound is a good move. For those considering a real-estate purchase of homes for sale in Jupiter, or homes for sale in Palm Beach Gardens, the specialists at Waterfront Properties and Club Communities can lead the way. The company’s seasoned sales team has first-hand knowledge of the area’s golf homes, gated communities, waterfront properties and oceanview condominiums, and can provide detailed information about the special amenities that come with owning a home in South Florida. Visit the brokerage’s Web site at http://www.waterfront-properties.com.

For information, call Rob Thomson at (561) 746-7272.

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