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First Time Homebuyer Programs for MA Residents

By Tabitha Jean Naylor

The Massachusetts Housing Development Division of the Department of Housing and Community Development provides funding to developers, non-profit organizations and communities to assist first-time homebuyers. First-time homebuyer educational courses are offered throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and are required for participation in most first-time homebuyer programs and loan programs.

Massachusetts Housing Partnership

The Massachusetts Housing Partnership supports first time buyers with the ONE mortgage. Previously known as the Softsecond Loan program, it is designed to provide assistance for low and median income first time buyers that need a safe, secure fixed rate mortgage. The one, or soft second mortgage has a low fixed interest rate for 30 years ranging from 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent below prevailing market rates. The loan also features a low down payment of 3 percent of the purchase price. Some of the down payment can be a gift or a grant. These loans also eliminate private mortgage insurance costs. For qualified borrowers, some soft second mortgages offer a zero percent interest subsidy payment from the MHP. The subsidy payment can cover up to 75 percent of the interest only payment on the second mortgage.


MassHousing, a self-supporting not-for-profit public agency offers several programs for first time home buyers including counseling, how to buy a home guide and affordable first mortgage loans that provide affordable fixed interest rates, 30 year repayment terms, and mortgage payment protection. They also offer low down payment options and flexible underwriting and income limits so more families can qualify for a mortgage loan. Their rightrate loans offer all of the same terms as their MassHousing loan but have even lower interest rates based on income. Qualifying income limits are based on the county in which you are purchasing a property. Other programs include mortgage insurance that pays your mortgage if you lose your job and listings of MassHousing owned homes for sale. MassHousing also provides down payment and closing cost assistance.

Many cities offer first time buyer programs that provide assistance with down payments and closing costs through various consortium, such as the South Shore Consortium. Check with your city for programs specific to the city where you plan to purchase a home. Typical assistance includes up to 9% of the purchase price to go towards your down payment with an additional 1% to help cover closing costs, access to the soft second or ONE loan program, access to rehabilitation and lead abatement loan programs. City programs also help eliminate the need for private mortgage interest insurance (PMI). Check city websites to learn how to qualify for first time home buyer assistance.

Between state-funded programs, federal programs, and privately funded public agencies there are many programs to help first time homebuyers successfully purchase the home of their dreams. Check with your local realtor for assistance in accessing first time home-buyer programs available for your area. Check out city websites, the MassHousing website and the Massachusetts Housing Development Division for additional information and courses that can help you learn what you need to know about purchasing a home, and find the best programs to make your homeownership dreams come true.

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