Equity Into Debt: Over $600 Billion In 2004
There is an calculation done by Goldman Sachs economist Jan Hatzius called mortgage equity withdrawal, or MEW. You can find the description at the Dallas Morning News link or a copy here.
MEW represents "the flow of new borrowing secured on existing homes..Ten years ago, MEW was $74 billion. Last year, it bulged to $640 billion." The piece titled "Formula puts price on greed", challenges Alan Greenspans assertion that a bubble in homes is unlikely due to a lack of liquidity. "Kathleen Bostjancic, economist at Merrill Lynch,..begs to differ on the liquidity issue."