As more Americans work to whittle down their mortgage debt, home equity rose to $6.7 trillion, the highest level since 2008, according to an analysis by Bloomberg. Homeowners are refinancing to lower rates, bringing more money to the table when they do and are opting for shorter-term mortgages.

In other news:

Illinois Hardest Hit Program helps Illinois homeowners save their homes after losing jobs. (Beacon-News)

Illinois forest preserves buying up property in today’s real estate market. (Chicago Tribune)

Foreclosures still an issue in Metro East market. Although foreclosures in St. Clair and Madison counties decreased in May compared to April, this year is on pace to exceed last year’s totals, the Belleville News-Democrat reports.