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United Kingdom (UK)
In the UK an "Equity Loan" is the term used to describe additional borrowing, normally secured as a subsequent charge, as a top-up to the amount a home owner/purchaser can borrow from a main mortgage provider. Often used by builders to encourage house sales but now also used by the UK governments to assist purchasers who would otherwise be unable to buy with only a conventional main mortgage. In England such loans are managed on behalf of the government by the Homes & Communities Agency. Devolved governments have their own separate schemes.
Elsewhere in the world
For example, if a person owns a home worth $100,000, but does not currently have a mortgage on it, they may take an equity loan at 80% loan to value (LTV) or $80,000 in cash in exchange for a mortgage on the title.
Many lending institutions require the borrower to repay only an interest component of the loan each month (calculated daily, and compounded to the loan once each month). The borrower can apply any surplus funds to the outstanding loan principal at any time, reducing the amount of interest calculated from that day onward. Some loan products also allow the possibility to redraw cash up to the original LTV, potentially perpetuating the life of the loan beyond the original loan term.
The interest rate applied to equity loans is much lower than that applied to unsecured loans, such as credit card debt. The reasoning behind this is that equity loans involve collateral, and credit card debt does not.
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