Home equity loans and cash-out refis are back -- sort of About 1.7 million homeowners regained equity in their homes last year, and an additional 1.8 million are close to it, according to a recent study by CoreLogic. All they need is home values to go up by another 5 percent, CoreLogic says. As home prices rise, millions of homeowners might consider turning their homes into a potential source for a loan. Cash-out refinances and home equity loans, which were popular during the housing boom, are slowly returning, along with the temptation to tap into equity. "I'm starting to see some of that," says Michael Becker, a mortgage banker at WCS Funding in Baltimore. He says he has recently received a couple of inquiries from parents who are thinking of using some of their equity to pay for college expenses. Another client is considering a cash-out refinance to pay off credit card debt. Your home as ATM: Lenders remain somewhat reluctant, because these types of loans contributed to the mortgage meltdown as homeowners turned their homes into bank machines. But borrowers who have good credit scores and sufficient equity should be able to find lenders willing to do cash-out refis and home equity loans this summer.