Home Equity Loan Rates

A home equity loan is a second mortgage that allows you to borrow against the value of your home. Your home equity is calculated by subtracting how much you still owe on your mortgage from the appraised value of your home. See below for top uses of home equity and more information.

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Find out more about home equity debt. Learn about the criteria used in surveys of rates above. These quotes are from banks, thrifts, and credit unions, some of whom have paid for a link to their own website, where you can find additional information. Rates are subject to change without notice and may vary from branch to branch.

Today's Average Home Equity Rates

Loan Type Rate
Last update: 12/18/2018 8:15am
Home Equity 8.37%
Home Equity Line of Credit 5.56%

Home equity loan rate: As of December 18, 2018, the average Home Equity Loan Rate is 8.37%.

Home equity line of credit, or HELOC, rate: As of December 18, 2018, the average HELOC rate is 5.56%.

Whether you own your home outright or have a standard first mortgage, home equity loans let you unlock the equity in your home in exchange for a second mortgage. Home equity loan rates are usually lower than personal loans or credit cards because your house is the collateral that secures the loan.

“A home equity loan offers the certainty of a fixed interest rate, the same payment every month, and a specific date when it will be paid off entirely.”

- Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst.

What are top uses of home equity loans?

A home equity loan makes more sense for a large, upfront expense because it’s paid in a lump sum. If you have smaller expenses that will be spread out over several years, such as multiple home projects or college tuition payments, a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, may make more sense.

Top uses of home equity loans:

What are the benefits of a home equity loan?

Home equity loans are best suited for people who know how much they need as they’re distributed in one lump sum. Additionally, they’re a good option for folks who want to use the funds for home improvements. The reason for this is that the interest you’ll pay is tax deductible if the money is used for renovation.

Conversely, if you use home equity loan funds for any other reason, such as paying off student debt or consolidating credit card bills, the interest you pay wouldn’t be eligible for a tax deduction under The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act.

Another benefit of home equity loans are the competitive interest rates, which are usually much lower than personal loans and cash-out refinances. Be sure to compare lenders’ rates for the best deal available.

What is a home equity line of credit, or HELOC?

A HELOC is a variable-rate home equity loan that works more like a credit card. Instead of an up-front lump payment, you’re given a line of credit that’s available for a set time frame, usually up to 10 years. This is called the draw period — during this time, you can withdraw money as you need it. You can get a HELOC with an interest-only draw period or one that allow you to pay interest and principal, helping you pay the line of credit off faster.

When a line of credit has expired, you enter the repayment period, which can last up to 20 years. You’ll pay back the outstanding balance that you borrowed, as well as any interest owed. A lender may allow a renewal of the credit line.

HELOC rates are variable and are tied to a benchmark interest rate. As the prime rate moves up or down, so does your HELOC rate. Payments will vary depending on the interest rate and how much credit you have used. However, some lenders will allow you to convert an adjustable rate into a fixed rate.

What are the benefits of a HELOC?

If you need money over a staggered period — for example, at the beginning of each semester for the next four years to pay for a child’s college tuition or for a remodeling project that will take three years to finish — a line of credit is ideal. It gives you the flexibility to borrow only the amount you need, when you need it.

And if you borrow relatively small amounts and pay back the principal quickly, a line of credit can cost less than a home equity loan.

Why is now a good time to use a home equity loan?

If you’ve been considering a home equity loan, now is the time to lock in your rate. Rates have been slowly moving higher, but they’re still lower than historical benchmarks. If you get a fixed-rate loan, which most home equity loans are, you will end up saving money in the long run if rates continue to climb, which they’re expected to.

Home Equity Loan and HELOC FAQs

If you have more questions or are still unsure about home equity loans, here’s a list of questions and answers to help you better understand these products.

What is home equity?

Your home equity is calculated by subtracting how much you still owe on your mortgage from the appraised value of your home. Home equity is one way to measure your personal wealth.

What is a home equity loan?

A home equity loan based on the equity of the borrower's home. Unlike a HELOC, you receive all of the money upfront and then may equal monthly payments of principal and interest for the life of the loan (similar to a mortgage).

What is a HELOC?

HELOC stands for home equity line of credit. It is a loan based on the equity of the borrower’s home. Similar to how a credit card works, it allows you to take out money and pay it back down at your own pace up to a certain amount during the draw period.

Where can I get a home equity loan or HELOC?

A variety of banks and lenders offer HELOC and home equity loans. Our storefront can help you target the best opportunities and rates in your area. It’s always a good idea to shop around with a few lenders to compare rates, fees and loan terms.

Why should I take out a HELOC?

A HELOC can be a good idea for a number of reasons. Maybe you need to fund a home improvement project or, maybe, you might even be trying to finance your education. It is also flexible, especially if you don’t need all the money upfront. When a HELOC is not a good idea, however, is when you aren’t in a position to pay it back or cope with the interest.

What is a HELOC draw period expiration?

The draw period expiration of a HELOC refers to a time when you can no longer draw any remaining loan amounts. This draw period expiration will vary based on the lender and the payment period you have signed on for. Some can last as long as 20 years. At the end of the draw period the facility converts to a fixed repayment schedule, like a mortgage, where you make equal monthly payments.

Is the interest paid on a home equity loan or HELOC tax-deductible?

Yes, so long as the HELOC is used for home-related investments (home improvements). Interest is capped at $750,000 on home loans (combined mortgage and HELOC/HE loan). So if you had a $600,000 mortgage and $300,000 HELOC for home improvements on a house worth $1,200,000, you can only deduct the interest on the first $750,000 of the $900,000 you borrowed.

If you are using a HELOC for any other purpose other than home improvement (such as starting a business or consolidating high-interest debt), you cannot deduct interest under the new tax law.

If you are using a HELOC for any other purpose other than the home, you cannot deduct interest under the new federal tax laws (as of 06/13/2018).

 

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Home equity tips

A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, has an adjustable rate of interest attached to paying it off, which means that your payments can fluctuate based on the federal funds rate. Think about a home loan if the idea of an adjustable rate unnerves you.

Know your loan-to-value, or LTV, ratio. This is how much you owe versus how much the home is worth. Many people are in trouble now because their homes dropped in value. You don't want to be stuck owing more than your house is worth.

Figure out what the loan is for and how long you'll need the money to help decide which kind of loan you need. Home equity loans are better for single lump sum expenses while home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, are best for prolonged expenses, like college tuition.