Home Equity is at an All-Time High – Here’s How to Leverage your Home in a Financially Responsible Way


or many people, home ownership represents the “American Dream.”  It’s become a universal goal because equity in real estate is one of the most effective ways to build generational wealth, especially within low-income communities and communities of color. Though varying across markets, home equity increases when housing prices appreciate and as mortgages are paid off. These factors play a significant role in increasing a homeowner’s wealth and financial independence.

In New Hampshire, median home prices are at a record high because of increased demand, limited inventory and previously low interest rates that promoted gentrification in urban areas.  In just the last year alone, the average price of a single-family home in New Hampshire has increased by 4.4%, with a median home sale price of $452,700.

Yet, a Silver Lining

As home values continue to rise, it’s a good time for homeowners to estimate their equity and consider how it can be used to reach their long-term financial goals. Whether it’s augmenting emergency funds, consolidating debt to accelerate a mortgage pay-off, funding education, renovating a home, or purchasing a vehicle, homeowners must be well informed about the tools at their disposal. With a little guidance and the right information at their fingertips, homeowners can be confident when choosing the best financial options; the tools and products that will allow them to manage their financial futures in a sensible way.

Citizens and NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire are committed to helping the communities we serve thrive. Together we are working to address the wealth and opportunity gaps by boosting homeownership and expanding access to capital. In 2022 we offered more than 38 no-cost financial education sessions for low- and moderate-income community members across New Hampshire.

For over a decade, Citizens and NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire, through the HOMEteam program, have worked together to ensure safe, affordable, and equitable housing for community members, providing hundreds of potential homebuyers with sound financial advice and helping them realize their dream of homeownership. This past year, HOMEteam helped 215 low- to moderate-income individuals by offering education programs in homeownership, assisting more than a dozen of those program participants with the purchase of a new home.

Those interested in leveraging their home’s equity should consider the following:

Get help: Citizens prides itself on providing sound financial products and services, including consumer financial education and technical assistance to help consumers make informed financial decisions. To find additional housing counseling agencies near you, visit HUD’s website.

Shop lenders: The pandemic accelerated consumer reliance on online and mobile banking. Lenders who provide an easy and accessible digital experience, fast access to funds, and personalized expert advice are worth exploring.

Pay it off: Select a lender who will help identify a manageable and cost-efficient path to pay off your loan, one that will be tailored to your budget, strengthen your credit score, and position you to access future financing opportunities that support your wealth building goals.

No one can predict the future.  However, with the right tools, consumers can plan for it. And with the right guidance, HELOCs and other financial products can provide New Hampshire families with the financial flexibility needed to address a range of possibilities. Whether you reside in Manchester, Nashua, Concord, or in another New Hampshire city or town, local homeowners can be equipped to take advantage of the best opportunities and minimize the stress that life often throws at us.

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