According to Realty Trac, a national real estate data firm, home equity loans are up 28% in Phoenix from last year.  Hmm, what does that mean? Are homeowners choosing not to move but rather making improvements to their homes?  Home improvement is usually good if you choose what will improve a home's value and not just the your personal taste.  Let's face it folks, the average person stays in a home 5-7 years and you want to make sure your updates are going to be something the next buyer can live with or change easily like paint.  Since the homeowner is tapping into their equity for these projects, it is a good sign that the metro Phoenix's housing market has recovered for many owners.