Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and home equity loans rose 8 percent in the first quarter compared to a year ago, according to industry newsletter Mortgage Finance.
Lenders extended $13 billion in equity, the most for a start of the year since 2009, with HELOCs accounting for the bulk. Last year, home-equity originations totaled $59 billion, a far cry from the peak of $113 billion during the third quarter of 2006.
Homeowners are looking to borrow against their homes following a rebound in residential prices and near-record-low interest rates. "We're seeing much more aggressive marketing campaigns [for HELOCs] by banks in locations where home prices have risen," says Equifax chief economist Amy Crews Cutts. "We expect to see quite an uptick in HELOC activity" in the spring.