KIRO Radio's Tom Kelly digs deep into the Puget Sound real estate market
Real Estate

The top expense homebuyers typically underestimate

Sixty-five percent of homeowners with private mortgage insurance say that the additional cost of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) prompted them to pay a higher monthly mortgage payment than they had originally expected, according to a new survey released by TD Bank, an affiliate of TD Ameritrade, of more than 2,000 Americans who purchased a home in the past 10 years.

"PMI has had a definitive impact on many homebuyers - including making them rethink or delay the purchase of a home in light of not being able to meet monthly mortgage payments," said Michael Copley, executive vice president of retail lending at TD Bank.

Borrowers are required to get PMI if the loan exceeds 80 percent of the home's value. The insurance protects the lender in case the borrower defaults on their loan.

Many buyers say that PMI has an impact on their home purchasing decisions. For example, 35 percent of people who purchased a home in the past two years said that PMI influenced their decision of which house to buy. Also, 53 percent reported facing a negative impact due to the additional cost of PMI. About 40 percent of those surveyed said that having to pay PMI forced them to curtail small and daily purchases or larger household purchases.

The survey showed that PMI is fairly common: 37 percent of those who purchased a home in the past 10 years said they were required to have PMI, and 43 percent in the past two years. Forty-five percent of homeowners aged 18 to 34 years old have PMI; 37 percent of home buyers aged 35 to 54 have it; and 23 percent of people older than 55 had required mortgage insurance on their loans over the past decade, the TD Bank study found.

On average, homeowners reported that PMI cost about $100 extra a month, according to the study.

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