When it comes to how homeowners use the equity they are gaining on their homes, there are a variety of reports. Some reports point to the fact that Americans are holding back on accessing this source of untapped wealth, while other reports point to exactly what they are spending it on.
A survey by Bankrate.com outlines the most popular uses for home equity by people who were using it, and the answers may surprise you. Primarily, they found that the answers differed by generation. For example, Baby Boomers were the most likely to say that renovations are the best use of their equity, followed by debt consolidation. However, Millennials said that it was okay to spend equity to pay for day-to-day expenses. When presenting these findings, the CFA at Bankrate.com, Greg McBride, has this to say:
“The idea that nearly 1 in 6 American homeowners view ‘keeping up with regular household bills’ as an appropriate reason to borrow from home equity speaks to how far some households are stretched on a monthly basis.”
He also added that home equity withdrawals hit the lowest level in four years, but he thinks that this usage will climb as people realize how much untapped equity they really have. As home values increase and mortgage principal stays relatively low, homeowners’ equity is increasing and will become a good source of capital for them.