I was playing around a bit with Google Insights for Search when I came across this rather telling chart.
The dark blue line below represents the general interest in real estate topics, as measured by Google. No surprise that it peaked in July 2005 and has been on a steady down trend ever since. The light blue line shows the interest in home equity loans, one of the more common ways to extract cash from the “housing ATM” during the days of exploding equity.
As of December, general interest in real estate has declined 33% relative to January 2004. Meanwhile, over the same time period, interest in home equity loans has plummeted 74%.
I think it’s safe to say that the housing ATM is dead. Let’s hope it stays dead.