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48 | Th e M Rep o RT o r i g i nat i o n s e r v i c i n g a na ly t i c s s e c o n da r y M a r k e t ORIGINATION the latest Helocs increase 15.8 Percent year-over-year Write-offs, installment loans, and mortgage balances see decline. H ome equity lines of credit (HELOCs) are increasing in the United States, according to Equifax's National Consumer Trends Report. In 2014, more than $120 billion worth of HELOCs were originated, which is a 21.5 percent year-over-year increase. In addition, more than 1.2 million new HELOCs were opened in 2014, a 15.8 percent increase from the year before. These represent six-year highs for HELOC originations. "Home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, are attracting more bor- rowers now that many borrowers once again have sizeable equity in their homes," said Amy Crews Cutts, chief economist at Equifax. "Nationally, home values have increased about 26 percent on average since January 2011. Many homeowners with a low-rate first mortgage will be reluctant to refinance that mortgage into a higher rate, and rules for cash-out refinance are onerous relative to home equity loans. Over the next several years, HELOCs should continue to attract substantial consumer interest as a way to maintain low rates on primary mortgages while also gaining ac- cess to accumulated home equity for home improvements, tuition, or other important uses." Mortgage industry write-offs continue to decrease. From February 2014–2015, home equity revolving lines of credit write- offs decreased 32.9 percent. First mortgage write-offs decreased 30.1 percent, and home equity install- ment loans decreased 17.8 percent. "Employment gains in 2014 were huge, as more than three million jobs were added to the U.S. economy," Cutts said. "With strong improvements in labor markets, mortgage delinquencies and write-offs fall. Rising home values are also helping pull more homeowners back into the black on their mortgages and reducing the incentive to default. These trends show no signs of slow- ing, so 2015 should see further improvements in mortgage and home equity loan performance." Total mortgage balances and accounts outstanding are also decreasing. As of February, the amount of first mortgage accounts decreased 0.8 percent from a year ago, totaling to $8,150. The home equity installment loans balance decreased 16.9 percent to $137.2 bil- lion, and accounts decreased 10.9 percent to 4.6 million accounts. The home equity revolving lines of credit balance decreased 3.2 percent to $512.2 billion, and ac- counts decreased 5 percent to 11.4 million compared to a year ago. Mortgage lending options grow out of single-Family rental investments Chart details top apartment and rental unit owners in U.S. B lackstone/Invitation Homes is currently the top single-family rental owner, according to a Mortgage Banker Association's chart, which ranked the top 50 apartment owners and top five single-family rental owners. Ac- cording to data they used from the American Housing Survey, more than 14 million single- family homes in the U.S. were renter-occupied in 2013. This represents 12 percent of the entire U.S. housing stock, or in other words, one in every eight U.S. households and more than one- third of the rental housing stock. "While single family rentals have comprised a relatively con- stant share of the stock over the last decade, institutional owner- ship of these homes is a relatively recent phenomenon," the report said. "Despite the attention to it, institutional ownership appears relatively underdeveloped, par- ticularly when compared to the multifamily market." Only two single-family rental owners would rank among the top 50 apartment owners in terms of units owned, comparing large single-family rental owners to large multifamily rental owners. Together, the top five single- family rental owners own over 100,000 units, which is less than 1 percent of all single-family rental housing. According to the chart, the top rental owners are Hunt Companies Inc., Boston Capital, and AIG Affordable Housing—all apartment owners. The other single-family rental owners to make the list were American Homes 4 Rent, Colony American Homes, Starwood Waypoint, and Progressive Residential. "Institutional interest in single- family rentals has helped open the door to new types of mortgage lending for owners of all sizes, including securitizations of mort- gages," the report said. "This past week, the first multiborrower se- curitizations of single-family rental mortgages were announced." "Institutional interest in single- family rentals has helped open the door to new types of mortgage lending for owners of all sizes, including securitizations of mortgages." —American Housing Survey

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