'Borrowable' home equity makes a tantalizing target

Changing market can create opportunity or crisis

Despite worries about adjustable-mortgage resets next year that will hit more than 10 percent of all households with outstanding home debt and a fear of government pressure to limit so-called “exotic products,” lenders still like the “LTV,” or loan-to-value, odds, which have 51 percent of all equity in American households untapped.

Half, then, of all “borrowable” equity in residential real estate is (technically anyway) up for grabs, a tantalizing target for lenders these days when overall mortgage originations are down at least 20 percent.