Report: PMI Helped Thousands of Home Buyers in Washington State

August 5, 2018
Last updated:
May 3, 2022
Post cover image
In This Article

It can be tough to gather up enough funds to come up with a down payment for a home. But with a special type of insurance, you may find it easier to qualify for a mortgage. This article will explain more.

According to a report published earlier this summer, more than 30,000 home buyers and homeowners across Washington State were helped by private mortgage insurance (PMI) last year.

Without PMI, a lot of those folks would not have been able to complete their home purchases due to insufficient down-payment funds. Private mortgage insurance helps buyers bridge this gap, buying a home sooner and with less money down.

Thousands of Homeowners in Washington Benefit from PMI

U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI) recently published a report that showed how many Washington borrowers have benefited from having private mortgage insurance.

DefinitionPrivate mortgage insurance is a special kind of policy that protects lenders from losses that could result from borrower default. It is typically required whenever a borrower’s loan-to-value ratio rises above 80%, which is usually what happens with smaller down payments.

You might wonder how private mortgage insurance benefits a home buyer. It is, after all, an added expense that can increase the size of the monthly mortgage payments. The truth is that without the PMI industry, the average home buyer would have to save up a lot more money for a down payment — and therefore wait a lot longer to make a purchase.

View Washington State Mortgage Rates

Smaller Down Payment, Shorter Path to Homeownership

Private mortgage insurance allows borrowers to take out a home loan with a down payment as low as 3% in some cases. Without it, most home buyers would have to make larger down payments — up to 20% in many cases. That would put homeownership out of reach (or further over the horizon) for a lot of folks.

The industry group USMI found that it would take the average home buyer in Washington State 22 years to save up for a 20% down payment on a median-priced home. But because of the added protections brought on by mortgage insurance, the typical buyer can make a smaller down payment and therefore purchase sooner.

To quote the report mentioned above:

“Since 1957, MI [mortgage insurance] has helped nearly 30 million families become homeowners. In 2017 alone, MI helped more than 1 million borrowers purchase or refinance a mortgage … MI is truly helping those low- to moderate-income Americans who cannot afford to put down the full 20 percent.”

To be clear: private mortgage insurance is not required for all loans. Borrowers who can afford to put down 20% of the home value, or more, can avoid PMI entirely. But a “typical” buyer might have trouble coming up with such a large upfront investment, especially in a high-priced real estate market. And that’s where private mortgage insurance comes into the picture.

Canceling PMI When You Have Enough Equity

As mentioned above, private mortgage insurance in Washington State is usually required for home loans that have a loan-to-value ratio above 80%. Over time, however, homeowners typically lower their LTV by making regular monthly payments.

And when the LTV drops below a certain level, homeowners are usually able to cancel their PMI policies. Typically, this occurs when the loan-to-value falls to 80% or below.

Government vs. Private Mortgage Insurance

Everything mentioned above pertains to conventional mortgage loans in particular. That is, loans that are not guaranteed or insured by the government.

But some government-backed programs require mortgage insurance as well. FHA loans, for example, require all home buyers to have this kind of insurance in place. And in many cases, the mortgage insurance assigned to FHA-backed home loans cannot be canceled until the loan is paid off (or refinanced). PMI, on the other hand, can usually be canceled once a certain LTV threshold has been reached.

View Current Mortgage Rates

Reach Out to Sammamish Mortgage

If you’d like to learn more about the home buying process, mortgage rates, mortgage programs, or other related topics, don’t hesitate to reach out to the professionals at Sammamish Mortgage today! Sammamish Mortgage is a family-owned mortgage company with experience delivering mortgage loans to customers in WA, OR, CO & ID at competitive interest rates since 1992. Contact us to learn more. You can also View Rates, get a Rate Quote, or Apply Now using our new online automated mortgage application system!

Other Blogs You May Like
A Buyer’s Guide to FHA Loan Down Payments in Washington
April 22, 2024
5 min read
A Buyer's Guide to FHA Loan Down Payments in Washington
FHA loans are one of the most popular mortgage options among home buyers in the state of...
Home Buyers in Washington & Nationwide Put Down Less Than 20%
February 7, 2024
4 min read
Home Buyers in Washington & Nationwide Put Down Less Than 20%
Recent Study Found That 52% of Home Buyers in the WA State and U.s. Make Down Payments of Less Than...
Show 44 more posts
from this category

Connect with a Mortgage Advisor Today!

Whether you’re buying a home or ready to refinance, our professionals can help.

Compare Mortgage Rates in Your Area Instantly

No Obligation and transparency 24/7. Instantly compare live rates and costs from our network of lenders across the country. Real-time accurate rates and closing costs for a variety of loan programs custom to your specific situation.

Subscribe to our newsletter