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Record Low M.I. Activity

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The volume of mortgage insurance policies written fell to the lowest level on record last month, and the worst is yet to come.

During August, mortgage insurance companies wrote 25,183 policies for $5.8 billion, according to data released today by the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America. Volume declined from 33,481 policies for $7.6 billion the prior month and tumbled from 53,476 policies for $10.2 billion a year earlier.

MortgageDaily.com analyzed mortgage insurance data back to 2000 — the oldest data available — and volume has never been this low. The second-lowest month on record was in November 2008 — just after the credit markets seized up — when just 29,387 policies were written for $5.8 billion.

The highest month on record was at the height of the biggest refinance wave ever in March 2003, when 266,862 policies were written for $43.3 billion.

So far this year, mortgage insurers have written just 353,251 policies for $61.2 billion.

New mortgage insurance applications received during August indicate that volume is headed even lower. Last month’s applications fell to 35,358 from 44,532 in July and are at the lowest level during the past 12 months — and quite possibly the lowest on record.

Primary insurance in force fell to $900.8 billion from July’s $906.1 billion but was above $801.7 billion in August 2008.

Meanwhile, primary insurance defaults declined to 91,854 in August from the prior month’s 94,571 but were worse than 72,818 a year prior.

Primary insurance cures eased to 52,939 from 53,399 in July. But cures were up from 41,783 in August of last year.

MICA based its findings on data submitted by members Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp., Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp., PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., Radian Guaranty Inc., Republic Mortgage Insurance Co. and United Guaranty Corp.

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