Applications for home equity loans and second mortgages recently hit a 15 year high. According to Freddie Mac, “88% of homeowners who refinance their homes in the 1st quarter got a mortgage at least 5% larger than their first loan.” Since this was the largest increase since 1990, and the Fed continues to increase key interest rates, it is my contention that the demand for cash and the ability to finance quickly is the greatest it has been since World War II.”The reality is that some people still believe the interest rate are under 6%,”said John Allen from Laguna Beach, California. John continued, “If I need cash for home improvements..Why wouldn’t I just take out home equity loan since my first mortgage rate is under 5%.” John’s mentality mirrors many of my borrowers’ frames of mind of late. Consumers are much more educated than they used to be about financing and taking out second mortgages. First time homebuyers don’t hesitate to get subordinate financing to help them accomplish their goals. Some people like John just want to finance the construction for pool and spa, but most of my borrowers are focused on consolidating credit card debt so they can cut their expenses and have access to more money at the end of the month.Some interesting home equity products have rolled out recently. Companies like BD Nationwide Mortgage and Ditech are offering larger 125% loans, and convertible equity credit lines. They are called convertible, because they start out as variable rate credit lines, but at any point you can convert portions of the line to a fixed rate loan, and still keep the unused portions of the line of credit open for revolving credit. These hybrid home equity loans are changing the face of second mortgage products and they offer powerful features that meet the needs of a typical family as well as the savvy real estate investor.