With home prices soaring nationwide during the housing bubble, homeowners an opportunity to pull some of that growing equity out of their house. The main vehicle was a refinance of the homeowner's first mortgage. The owner cashed out the growing equity in the house by refinancing the first mortgage with a larger first. How much extra cash are we talking about? Freddie Mac publishes a quarterly cash-out refinance report. Between 2004 and 2007, homeowners were able to cash-out a total of $964 billion. They were free to spend it on anything, and they did. Freddie Mac's figures include only refinancing of prime first-lien conventional mortgages.