Consumers tapping the equity in their homes choose closed-end second mortgages more often than home equity lines of credit, according to an annual Consumer Bankers Association survey.The 2006 Home Lending Survey shows that bookings for new HELOCs dropped 24% for the year ended June 30, compared with those of the same period in 2005, while bookings of second mortgages jumped 61%. Rising short-term interest rates also prompted more lenders to offer a "loan-in-line" feature that allows borrowers to draw against their line of credit at a fixed rate. "Fifty-one percent of survey respondents offered this feature, compared to 36% a year earlier," the CBA said. Survey participants also reported that the credit quality of their HEL customers held steady at an average credit score of 730, up slightly from 727 in 2005. The average household income increased 9% for new bookings, and the average appraised home value increased 22%. "Borrowers appear to be stronger than ever," the CBA said. The association can be found online at http://www.cbanet.org.

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