Foreclosures Loom Concerning Home Equity Loans

mortgage modification attorneysThere is concern there will be a new wave of foreclosure proceedings in the near future related to home equity lines of credit. Home equity loans are a type of second mortgage. Many home equity loans are almost ten years old. The ten year anniversary usually causes the homeowners who have taken out these loans to be forced to start paying back the principal on these loans as well as the interest they have been paying since the loans were originally taken out. It is estimated there is more than $220 billion dollars of outstanding home equity loans with large financial institutions in the United States. When the consumer has to start paying back principal as well as the interest, there is a significant increase in the amount of the monthly payments.

Popularity of Home Equity Loans

Prior to the housing bubble, financial institutions aggressively marketed home equity lines of credit. These lines of credit allowed consumers to pay back more expensive financial obligations such as credit card debts. In addition, home equity loans were used by consumers to buy cars and to take vacations. As a result of banks’ aggressive marketing of home equity loans between the years 2003 and 2007, the amount of outstanding home equity credit increased from approximately $345 billion to $600 billion dollars. Financial institutions that initially approved these home equity loans were counting on the value of the home to increase to support the payment of these loans. Unfortunately the value of homes stopped rising, and during the housing bubble the home valuations were significantly reduced. Large portions of these home equity loans are now unsecured (this means in the event the house was sold, the first mortgage on the property would be satisfied but there would be insufficient funds at the time of the closing of the real estate transaction to satisfy the home equity loan).

Averting a Home Equity Loan Crisis

A home equity loan crisis can be averted if the real estate market turns itself around and real estate values start increasing again. As the real estate values increase, home equity loans will become secured again and in the event of sale of the home, there will be sufficient equity in the homes to pay off the home equity loans.

foreclosure advocate for homeownersElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure attorney representing homeowners fighting foreclosure lawsuits. In addition, he helps homeowners obtain mortgage modifications to keep their homes out of foreclosure.

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