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Homeowners Cash in on Equity in Droves

Homeowners Cash in on Equity in Droves

Homeowners may be reluctant to sell, but they still want to see a piece of that equity in their homes now. They’re cashing out in levels that have not been seen since the financial crisis, Freddie Mac reports.

Read more: Despite Equity, Trading Up Isn’t Easy

Nearly half of borrowers who refinanced their homes during the first quarter did a cash-out option, the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2008, according to Freddie Mac.

Still, the number of borrowers doing a cash-out refi remains well below the nearly 90 percent peak reached prior to the housing crash. But it is up significantly from the post-crisis 12 percent in the second quarter of 2012.

Rising home prices have helped increase the number of homeowners who now have equity in their homes. As such, more owners are finding they can refinance to get a lower mortgage rate and also take out some cash for other uses. In hot markets like Denver and Dallas, in which home prices have surged by some of the highest amounts in the country, more than half of refinancers opted to refinance for cash last year, according to Freddie Mac.

While the number of cash-out refis grows, Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist, does not see this as playing out similarly to the run-up to the financial crisis when borrowers were using their homes like ATMs. Borrowers must follower stricter underwriting standards now when they refinance a mortgage or get a loan. Also, there is less money at stake than a decade ago, Kiefer notes.

Source: “Homeowners Are Again Pocketing Cash as They Refinance Properties,” The Wall Street Journal (May 27, 2017)

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