Concern Grows that Aging Home Equity Loans Threaten New ‘Wave of Disaster’ | Cross River Real Estate

Nearly half of the nation’s outstanding second lien home equity lines of credit (HELOC) will amortize over the next several years, raising monthly payments and increasing the risk of a rash of new delinquencies that could result in new defaults and foreclosures.

Lender Processing Services today joined Equifax in raising alarms about prospect that aging HELOC loans written in the final years of the housing boom could result in a huge number of defaults, creating a “wave of disaster.”

Some 48 percent of outstanding second lien home equity lines of credit, which were originated between 2004 and 2006, will begin amortizing on their tenth anniversaries.. As the payments on these HELOCs become fully amortizing, many borrowers may see monthly payments increase.  Recent increases in new problem loans among HELOCs originated prior to 2004 that have already begun amortizing indicate the huge wave of newly amortized loans poses increased risk of more delinquencies ahead, LPS said.

“In the aggregate, the home equity market is experiencing lower delinquencies,” said LPS Senior Vice President Herb Blecher. “However, among the HELOC population that has already begun amortizing, we are actually seeing an increase in new seriously delinquent loans. As of today, only 14 percent of second  lien HELOCs have passed this 10-year mark, leaving a very large segment of the market at risk of payment increases over the coming years. Nearly half of all of these lines of credit were originated between 2004 and 2006, with the oldest set to begin amortizing next year. If this trend toward post-amortizing delinquencies carries over, we could be looking at significant risk to the home equity market over the coming years.”

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