The average household would need 21 years to save up for a 20% down payment for the median-priced home in America, according to the U.S. Mortgage Insurers. A 5% down payment, on the other hand, would only take around seven years.

Low down payment loans backed by private mortgage insurance grew 22.9% year-over-year in 2019, based on USMI’s annual report. That growth coincides with a time during which a significant amount of borrowers face heightened difficulties in saving for a house.

“Last year, over 1.3 million homeowners purchased a home or refinanced an existing mortgage with less than a 20% down payment using private mortgage insurance,” Lindsey Johnson, president of USMI, said in a press release.

“Given the current economic environment and the desire of many people to keep more cash on-hand, low down payment loans are more important than ever. Loans backed by private MI are a great option as a time-tested means for accessing homeownership sooner while still providing credit risk protection and stability to the U.S. housing system.”

Nearly 60% of the 1.3 million who qualified through PMI were first-time homebuyers. Texas led all states with 105,158 total borrowers helped by PMI, 56% of which were first-timers. California’s 103,120 borrowers followed and it was the first home purchase for 68% of them. Florida’s 88,360 borrowers came third and a 55% share went to first-time buyers.

In early June, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods downgraded its stock ratings for the four stand-alone private mortgage insurers due to possible shortfalls in capital by 2021’s opening quarter.

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