Mortgage rates lock up Gen X wealth in Chicago homes
Why it matters: Chicagoland median home values jumped nearly 37% in the past five years, Redfin figures show, which should be a boon to homeowners.
- But today's higher mortgage rates have made tapping into those equity gains less appealing or feasible for many.
What's happening: Most people aren't touching the $31.7 trillion of home equity U.S. homeowners are sitting on unless they need cash, housing finance experts tell Axios.
Between the lines: Gen X is stressed about money. Nearly half of Gen Xers say they feel behind on retirement savings, according to a Bankrate study.
- Roughly two-thirds of Gen Xers say they're uncomfortable with their level of emergency savings, and 22% have no emergency savings at all, per the study.
The big picture: Roughly nine in 10 home loan refinances nationwide were cash-out refinances in the first half of 2023, per Freddie Mac.
- The move allows homeowners to convert home equity into cash.
Zoom in: Albany Park homeowner Jerry LoProto prefers to pay by credit card for small yearly renovations such as kitchen updates and siding repairs.
- "As long as the balance is paid off on the credit card, the total investment cost is less" than a home equity loan, LoProto tells Axios.
Zoom out: Consolidating debt is a big reason people are tapping into their home equity, Loan Pronto CEO Roger Moore tells Axios.
- Borrowers are also opting to expand or renovate their current home instead of moving, he says. People with a 700+ credit score can use HELOCs or HELOANs to keep their primary mortgage rate and access additional cash/credit.
The intrigue: It can take up to about 20 years for Chicago homeowners to break even.
- That's how long you have to stay in your house before you can sell and make a profit.
Context: Historically, experts say you need to stay in your home at least five years to break even.
Go deeper: Why mortgage rates are so high
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