This week Equifax announced New credit for HELOCs increases 21% year over year. New Home Equity loans reached a 6 year high in July.
Mindful that there are a lot of 10 year HELOCs coming due in the next few years my first reaction was one of caution, tending towards concern. After all, a lot of the housing boom was financed by people using the equity in their homes. HELOCs opened between 2004-2008 account for 60 percent of outstanding loans and more than $221 billion in HELOC loans will be due for repayment or refinancing from 2014-2018.
But I read on and learned:
(a) While new loans “jumped” 21% to $66 bn, the total amount of HELOCs outstanding at the end of August was $478 billion, a 5 year low and a 4% decrease over a year ago.
(b) Total HELOC volume is only just over a third of the levels before The Great Recession.
All in all, therefore, it does not appear that new home equity loan levels are a cause for concern, nor are they an indication that we are again all glued to HGTV and borrowing freely to
speculate invest in real estate. I do, however, have some concern as to the impact as the 2004-2008 loans come due.
What is the difference between a Home Equity Loan and a Home Equity Line of Credit?
A HELOC is a line of revolving credit with an adjustable interest rate whereas a home equity loan is a one time lump-sum loan, often with a fixed interest rate. A HELOC can be drawn down as and when needed and bears interest only. A Home Equity Loan, however, is more like a mortgage, with a one time draw down and payments that include Principal.
Put another way, the payments on a HELOC are a lot less than those on a Loan. Hence their popularity with homeowners.(Outstanding HELOCs are $477 bn while outstanding home equity loans are only $125 billion.)
The bad news is that after 10 years of interest only payments borrowers will have to refinance, pay off the loan or start making Principal payments over a shorter time frame. (I heard of one recently which converted into a 6 year mortgage.Ouch!).
Equifax made this comment about the classes of 2004-2008: “The financial circumstances of borrowers and the value of properties against which these lines are held may have deteriorated.” NSS!
If you – or somebody you know – are considering buying or selling a home and have questions about the market and/or current home prices, feel free to contact me on 617.834.8205 or Andrew.Oliver@SothebysRealty.com.
Andrew Oliver is a Realtor with Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty Sotheby’s International Realty® is a registered trademark licensed to Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. Each Office Is Independently Owned and Operated
In a speech this week to the Mortgage Bankers Association, Mel Watt, the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (which regulates Fannie and Freddie) announced that: “to increase access for creditworthy but lower-wealth borrowers, FHFA is …. working with the Enterprises (Fannie and Freddie) to develop sensible and responsible guidelines for mortgages with loan-to-value ratios between 95 and 97 percent.”
Earlier this year FNM discontinued its 97% Conventional Loan, which was described by Dan Green of The Mortgage Reports as: “a true, three-percent-downpayment mortgage program, for which the 3% downpayment may come as a gift. In many respects, it’s more aggressive that the FHA’s benchmark mortgage product in that guidelines are simpler and less-restrictive.”
Mr. Watt hopes that : “through these revised guidelines, we believe that the Enterprises will be able to responsibly serve a targeted segment of creditworthy borrowers with lower-down payment mortgages by taking into account “compensating factors.” Further details about these new guidelines will be available in the coming weeks as we continue to advance FHFA’s mission of ensuring safety, soundness and liquidity in the housing finance markets.”
Click here to read Mr.Watt’s remarks.
If you – or somebody you know – are considering buying or selling a home , or have questions about the market and/or current home prices, please feel free to contact me on 617.834.8205 or Andrew.Oliver@SothebysRealty.com.
Andrew Oliver is a Realtor with Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty.
Sotheby’s International Realty® is a registered trademark licensed to Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. Each Office Is Independently Owned and Operated