Understanding Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI)

Clients of mine who are first home buyers have saved a $50,000 deposit and are looking to buy a property for around $550,00. Given that their deposit is around 9% of their purchase price, they are required to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). Based on their deposit amount and property purchase price, the LMI is approximately $13,450, which they will add to the total cost of their loan and pay off over the life of the loan. 

 

As a general rule, if your deposit is less than 20 per cent of the value of the property, you will need to pay for Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). There are also some specific cases that require a higher than 20% deposit, depending on the type and style of property you’re purchasing – for example, some inner-city apartments or rural land.

Why do lenders insist on LMI?

The lower your deposit as a percentage of the purchase price of the property, the higher the lender views their risk in the event that you fail to meet mortgage payments and the property needs to be repossessed and resold. It is important to be aware that LMI only covers the lender if you default on your loan payments (and the lender is unable to secure the full outstanding debt still owing, when they sell your property). LMI does not provide you with any cover.

How much does LMI cost?

The bigger the percentage of the property’s purchase price you have to borrow, the greater the amount you’re likely to pay for insurance.

A handy site that offers an approximate guide on how much LMI may cost is the LMI Premium Estimator on the Gemworth website. For a more exact calculation on LMI, it is best to get in touch to work through what it might be for your specific situation.

 

How is LMI paid?

LMI is usually paid as a one-off lump sum at the time of settlement but in many cases it can also be added into the loan amount and paid off over the life of the loan – a term known as capitalising the LMI. LMI is always paid directly to the lender as part of the settlement and the lender then uses their preferred insurer.

Why would you pay LMI? Why not wait until you have 20% deposit?

Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) allows some buyers to enter the market earlier than they could if they had to wait until they have the required deposit to ‘avoid’ LMI. For first home buyers, particularly those struggling to save a deposit in an environment of rising house prices, but more than comfortable to meet their mortgage repayments, it can be a key tool to break free from renting and get into the property market.

 

If you need any information on Lenders Mortgage Insurance, or are looking at buying a first home, be sure to get in touch. You can contact Doug at (e) douglas.piening@choicehomeloans.com.au or (m)  0408 671 524.

Douglas Piening is a Mortgage and Finance Broker with Choice Home Loans and is passionate about providing advice you can trust. Whether it’s buying a home, refinancing a loan, investing, building or renovating, Doug brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to assist with your lending needs. 

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This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You should always seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.