Cash-Out Refinancing: Sign of the Times?

Gone are the days when homeowners used their houses and apartments like ATM machines, pulling out equity to pay for vacations and other treats. Nowadays, people are more likely to put money into their homes when they refinance--moving themselves towards a debt-free future. Of the borrowers who refinanced home loans in the first quarter of 2010, 18 percent--nearly 1 in 5--took out new loans that were smaller than their original financing, often writing big checks