WASHINGTON — U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI), the association representing the nation’s leading private mortgage insurance (MI) companies, today announced the industry helped nearly 2 million low down payment borrowers secure mortgage financing in 2021, similar to the industry’s 2020 activity, according to data from the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The industry also supported nearly $585 billion in mortgage originations, according to public filings. More than 80 percent of this volume by loan count was for new purchases while approximately 20 percent was for refinance loans. This resulted in nearly $1.4 trillion in outstanding mortgages with active private MI coverage at year’s end, underscoring the industry’s critical role serving as the first layer of protection against credit risk in the conventional mortgage market backed by the GSEs.
“As the economy continues to navigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, conventional loans backed by private MI kept leveling the homebuying field for millions of low down payment borrowers,” said Lindsey Johnson, President of USMI. “In 2021, private MI companies continued to be well-capitalized and maintained their high volumes, allowing more families achieve the dream of homeownership.”
USMI worked closely with federal policymakers, industry groups, and consumer organizations to support and advocate for low down payment homebuyers throughout the year. The organization sent letters and released statements in support of bipartisan and bicameral legislative initiatives to make permanent the ability of homeowners to deduct MI premiums from federal income; submitted comment letters on the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) Request for Input (RFI) on its Equitable Housing Finance Plans; joined the Black Homeownership Collaborative calling the Biden Administration to focus on the critical need for housing production to address the significant deficit that continues to drive up home prices across the country; among many other actions it took in support of first-time, low- to moderate-income (LMI), and minority homebuyers.
“Skyrocketing home prices combined with record low housing supply have made homeownership unreachable for many. It is critical that affordable, sustainable low down payment mortgages are available to meet borrowers’ needs,” said Johnson. “Private MI assumes the first loss —limiting risk to taxpayers and the government— while also facilitating access to sustainable and affordable mortgage finance credit for millions of people who do not have significant down payments.”
Home price appreciation (HPA) reached 17.5 percent over the course of 2021, according to FHFA’s House Price Index (HPI®). In addition, the U.S. median home price hit a record in March, reaching $375,300, according a press release issued yesterday by the National Association of REALTORS®. At the end of 2021, the private MI industry collectively held more than $10.4 billion in excess of the capital requirements set by the GSEs, for a sufficiency ratio of over 170 percent. The MI industry has enabled more than 37 million people to access affordable and sustainable low down payment mortgages in its 65-year history. In 2021, nearly 60 percent of purchase loans backed by MI went to first-time homebuyers, over 40 percent went to borrowers with incomes below $75,000, and the average loan amount with MI was approximately $310,000.
U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI) is dedicated to a housing finance system backed by private capital that enables access to housing finance for borrowers while protecting taxpayers. Mortgage insurance offers an effective way to make mortgage credit available to more people. USMI is ready to help build the future of homeownership. Learn more at www.usmi.org.