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Homeowner equity is hitting a record high

Homeowners are getting richer, thanks to rising home values. The amount of equity that homeowners can tap into is now at the highest level on record, according to Black Knight Financial Services, a mortgage and finance industry solution provider.

The amount a borrower can take out of a home—while still leaving 20 percent in it—increased by a collective $735 billion during 2017. That is the largest annual increase by dollar value on record, according to Black Knight. The collective amount of tappable equity now stands at $5.4 trillion, 10 percent more than the prerecession peak in 2005. 

Homeowners are being more conservative, and lenders are much stricter when it comes to tapping into home equity. Homeowners took out $262 billion in cash-out refinances or home equity lines of credit last year, which is less than 1.25 percent of all available equity and is at a four-year low. 

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