Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Home Equity Used For Long-Term Investments

12/12/14 - A decade ago, before the Great Recession hit in full effect, it was common for people to take out a line of credit on the equity of their homes. This “quick cash” was spent non-productively, used to buy groceries or spent on vacations, rather than being used as an investment. Over time, people began to cease such “wasteful” ventures and have slowly been learning to use Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) in a smarter manner. In his article in the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Harney describes how a recent increase in the use of such lines of credit is a good thing for the economy.

Although such HELOCs were once a way for people to pull money out of their homes for regular expenses, people have generally learned not to jeopardize the equity of their homes unless investing in something safe. For example, most of those who took money through a HELOC used it to make improvements on their homes, or to pay off higher-interest debts, such as those on credit cards. Both of these provide long-term benefits for the home-owner. Thus, it is shown that tapping into home equity is not always a bad thing. For those who make smart investments using the line of credit, home equity can be used and quickly earned back.

Until recently, most home-owners were wary of HELOCs, remembering the negative consequences that had arisen from the use of such funds for day-to-day expenses. Now, though, equity lines are up 21%, which, according to Harney's sources, could mean that people are starting to become more confident in the economy's stability. With less fear of economic collapse and an improvement in equity and interest rates, more home-owners consider a line of equity to be a “safe investment.”

Besides a stabilizing economy, HELOCs have become safer because of a crackdown by lenders. Lenders have become more careful as to who they lend to, making sure that credit scores and financial reserves are up to par. As Harney concludes, now is the time to look into home equity lines of credit. Such money, if used right, could have a dramatic economic impact, both personally and nationally.

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