The potential for consumers to tap home equity remains substantial. In a nationwide survey released last week, 58% of homeowners said they had never had a home equity loan or credit line and had never considered applying for one.
In addition, 56% of homeowners surveyed said they would not consider using home equity to consolidate debt.
Among homeowners who had either credit lines or loans or considered applying for them, home improvement projects were identified as the leading use of these funds, at 57%. The next most common uses were to consolidate outstanding debt, 29%, and paying credit card bills, 25%. Outstanding debt may include student loans, medical bills and automobile loans.