Prices are up, property tax assessments are likely up, you’re rich, rich, rich … on paper. According to researchers Black Knight, as of the end of 2017, Americans have $5.4 trillion in “tappable” home equity, an increase of $735 billion from the end of 2016. Tappable means that while total home equity, according to the Federal Reserve, sits at $14.4 trillion, only $5.4 trillion would be available using loan products requiring 20 percent equity remain in the property.
Put in perspective, $5.4 trillion is about 10 percent more than in 2005, before everything went to shit. But there’s tappable and there’s tappable. Three quarters of that equity is also held in mortgages with rates lower than current rates. Of the $5.4 trillion, approximately half is held by property owners with at least a credit score of 760 (qualifying for the lower refinance rates).