Press Release: New Report – For 65 Years, Private Mortgage Insurers Enabled More than 37 Million Families to Access Homeownership Sooner

June 1, 2022

In 2021, the industry helped nearly 2 million low down payment borrowers secure mortgage financing; Texas, California, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio rank as the top states for mortgage financing with private MI.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI), the association representing the nation’s leading private mortgage insurance (MI) companies, today released its annual report on mortgage financing supported by private MI at the national and state levels. The report finds that the industry helped more than 37 million low down payment borrowers over its 65-year history to secure mortgage financing, including nearly 2 million in 2021, according to data from the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Meanwhile, the report finds that saving for a 20% down payment could take potential homebuyers 14 years — almost three times longer to save for a 5% down payment. Texas, California, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio rank as the top five states for mortgage financing with private MI. According to Fannie Mae, private MI ranks among the lowest costs associated with homeownership, with total private MI payments representing 0.5% of lifetime homeownership costs for the average purchase borrower, plus it can be canceled after a period of time.

“Skyrocketing home prices driven by record low housing supply have made homeownership unreachable for many Americans. It is critical that affordable, sustainable low down payment mortgages are available to meet borrowers’ needs,” said Lindsey Johnson, President of USMI. “For 65 years, the private MI industry has been helping to level the homebuying playing field, providing first-time and low- to moderate-income borrowers with access to mortgage credit. Thanks to private MI nearly 2 million borrowers purchased a home or refinanced in 2021.”

Private MI facilitates access to sustainable and affordable mortgage finance credit for millions of people who have down payments smaller than 20%. The latest USMI report examines the number of borrowers served, the percentage of borrowers who were first-time buyers, average loan amounts, and average FICO credit scores. USMI also calculates the number of years to save for a 5% versus 20% down payment for each state plus the District of Columbia.

Key findings from the report include:

  • It could take 14 years on average for a household earning the national median income of $67,521 to save 20% (plus closing costs), for a $353,400 single-family home, the national median sales price.
  • The wait time decreases to five years with a 5% down payment insured mortgage — a 64% shorter wait time at the national level.
  • In 2021, the number of homeowners who qualified for a mortgage because of private MI reached nearly 2 million.
  • Nearly 60% of purchase mortgages went to first-time buyers, and more than 40% had annual incomes below $75,000. The average loan amount purchased or refinanced with private MI was $310,275.
  • The private MI industry supported approximately $585 billion in mortgage originations in 2021. Approximately 80% was for new purchases while 20 percent was for refinanced loans, resulting in approximately $1.4 trillion in outstanding mortgages with active private MI coverage at year-end.

The number of years to save for a down payment decreased in comparison to USMI’s past reports as the personal saving rate reached record highs during the first six months of 2021, as reported by the Federal Reserve. This was largely due to consumer spending decreasing, government stimulus checks, and an increase in unemployment insurance. According to a 2020 Congressional Research Service report, the “saving rate usually goes up when there’s a decline in general economic activity, but it can quickly fall back down when there are positive signs of growth.” The U.S. economy experienced this growth as businesses reopened during the second half of 2021, once the COVID-19 pandemic started to recede. As a result, personal saving rates resumed regular levels as consumers began spending more and saving less, while the economy also experienced high inflation, limiting people’s ability to save.

The below table shows the top five states where private MI was used by borrowers to purchase or refinance homes in 2021.

State Number of Borrowers Helped with Private MI First-Time Homebuyers
Texas 148,366 59%
California 134,231 72%
Florida 128,897 55%
Illinois 84,490 65%
Ohio 64,149 60%


Loans backed by private MI provide protection against mortgage credit risk and is structured to protect the GSEs in the conventional mortgage market. In 2021, the industry insured $1.4 trillion of mortgages, including $1.2 trillion of mortgages backed by the GSEs. Private MI has proven to be a reliable method for shielding the GSEs, having paid nearly $60 billion in claims since the 2008 financial crisis and housing market downturn.

USMI worked closely with federal policymakers, industry groups, and consumer organizations to support and advocate for low down payment homebuyers and homeowners 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 a comment letter on the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) Request for Input (RFI) on the GSEs’ Equitable Housing Finance Plans; and joined the Black Homeownership Collaborative in calling on 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.

The complete report is available here, along with fact sheets for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


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