With home prices having skyrocketed and now starting to slow, many homebuyers are curious whether it’s a good time to get a home equity loan. In a survey of 1000 homeowners by MeridianLink, 21% stated they were considering getting a home equity loan at some point during the year, compared to just 8% last year. However, a little under half — 48% — aren’t even confident they know what a home equity loan is, or definitely don’t know, which encompasses 13% of respondents. Rising prices have, in fact, increased total equity by 15.8%. But that’s not the only thing you need to know.
The most important factor to keep in mind is whether it’s actually a home equity loan you’re interested in, or the similar but distinct home equity line of credit (HELOC). The answer will depend what you need the funds for and how quickly you want to repay it. A home equity loan has a fixed interest rate that is locked when you take out the loan. They’re relatively safe if you have good credit, but with current interest rates being high, they’re most useful for short-term uses, such as funding home improvement projects with a solid return on investment. HELOCs, on the other hand, have a variable interest rate that is based on the benchmark rate. The benchmark rate is currently still increasing, but that should change in the not-too-distant future. Therefore, a HELOC can be useful if you want to take advantage of high equity now and aren’t particularly worried about paying it off any time soon.