The new, more responsible home equity line of credit

helocBy Anya Martin | The Wall Street Journal

Because of their size, shorter term and flexibility, so-called Helocs are increasingly popular for financing home renovations and college tuition.

As housing prices continue to creep upward, high-end homeowners looking for something bigger and better may find it cheaper to renovate than to relocate. For them, a home-equity line of credit is an option.

With a home-equity line of credit, or Heloc, lenders make available a certain amount over a set period, with the home as collateral. Then, homeowners can dip in to borrow and pay off the balance multiple times over the time period. Helocs typically have an adjustable rate, which averaged 5.30% on Jan. 16, according to HSH.com, a mortgage-information Website.

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