And one hell of a spending binge these past few years. Free money! Free money! Oh, crap, you mean it has to be paid back? But that's not fair - my home value has plummeted. OK, screw it, you can have the damn house. Here. Take the keys.
Home-Equity Loans May Be Next Round in Credit Crisis
Little by little, millions of Americans surrendered equity in their homes in recent years. Lulled by good times, they borrowed — sometimes heavily — against the roofs over their heads.
Now the bill is coming due. As the housing market spirals downward, home equity loans, which turn home sweet home into cash sweet cash, are becoming the next flash point in the mortgage crisis.
Americans owe a staggering $1.1 trillion on home equity loans — and banks are increasingly worried they may not get some of that money back.