The equity in your home is a frequently overlooked asset and it is not typically the first option people consider when they need some cash.  Here are a few interesting figures about home equity loans to consider the next time you are seeking financing for various projects and purchases:

$1,019 Billion - The volume of home equity loans has reached $1,010 billion according to the 2006 U.S. Census.  This figure is up from $314 billion in 1995 and $500 billion in 2001.  If you are going to join the masses and tap into your home equity, be sure to secure the best rate by using the Internet to research available rates (Source: Harvard Joint Center for Housing).
91% - Ninety-one percent of homeowners consider the equity in their primary home “a useful financial asset” according to a 2006 survey by Harris Interactive for Countrywide (Source: Countrywide Home Loans).  Given the competitive interest rates and potential tax benefits of taking out a home equity loan upon a primary residence, it’s no wonder so many people consider their equity an asset.  To enhance these benefits, you should try to find a home equity loan that has the best rate. 
55% - Fifty-five percent of those surveyed stated that they used their home equity loan to repair their home, as stated in the Home Equity Lending Monitor 2006, published by Synergistics Research Collaboration.  Other purposes included debt consolidation (32 percent), vehicle purchase (24 percent), appliances or furnishings (15 percent), and travel (8 percent) (Source: Synergistics Research Corporation).
1 in 4 - Approximately 1 in 4 households have first mortgages and home equity loans according to the 2006 U.S. Census.  This figure has increased by 4 percent from 2 years ago (Source: U.S. Census).
18% - Eighteen percent of those surveyed considered understanding the opposite sex easier than understanding the home buying process according to a study by Harris Interactive for Countrywide in 2005.  Those surveyed also considered programming a DVR or TiVo (55 percent) and taxes (28 percent) easier than understanding the process of purchasing a home (Source: Countrywide Home Loans;
7.83% - The current national average for a $50,000 home equity loan with a 15-year term is 7.83 percent.  The national high rate and low rate are 11.75 percent and 5.63 percent, respectively (Source: Informa Research Services).  Shop online for the best rates.

Source: Informa Research Services