First Time In 15 Years, Outstanding HELOCs Limits Are Up

Mortgage News March 7, 2023

Banks, credit unions, and non-bank lenders increased their home equity credit limits for the first time in 15 years.

As opposed to home equity installment loans, home equity revolving accounts (aka home equity lines of credit or HELOCs) have a revolving line of credit that allows the borrower to borrow when and how often they want.

During the fourth quarter of last year, HELOC credit limits increased by $14 billion, up from just a $1 billion increase three months earlier. Compared with the final quarter of 2021, the latest gain was slightly higher than $12 billion.

That was according to data from the Quarterly Report On Household Debt and Credit of Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

In the fourth quarter of 2022, national HELOC limits totaled $890 billion, up from $845 billion a year earlier. In 2007, aggregate HELOC limits increased by $100 billion over 2006 to $1.370 trillion, the last time they increased year-over-year.

As of the fourth quarter of 2021, HELOC balances totaled $336 billion, a third consecutive quarter of growth from $322 billion in the third quarter and $318 billion in the fourth quarter of last year.

In spite of this, America’s HELOC book was higher from the second quarter of 2004 until the fourth quarter of 2020. A $714 billion balance was reached in the first quarter of 2009.

The Fed noted that outstanding HELOC balances in the latest expansion quarter-over-quarter were the largest gain seen in more than ten years.

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