WASHINGTON — In May 166,771 borrowers took out private mortgage insurance while buying or refinancing a home, up 11.9% from April, the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America reported on Friday.

Lenders usually require such insurance when a homebuyer cannot afford a 20% down payment. Using it takes 10 years off the time the average borrower must wait to afford a home purchase, the trade group said.

The volume of primary insurance written on newly originated one- to-four-family conventional mortgage loans rose 13.6% from April, to $23.2 billion, the group said. Insurance written on pools of loans came in at $313 million, up 69.5%, and insurance in force rose 0.4%, to $659.1 billion.

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