Governor Deval Patrick proclaimed June 10 to June 16 Commonwealth Housing Week as part of his administration’s announcement of a compact among lenders to write 10,000 mortgages to first-time home buyers over the next 5 years.
These mortgages will be written for first-time home buyers whose household income is below the median income. The loans will also be written through the commonwealth’s MassHousing and Massachusetts Housing Partnership.
In a press release announcing the initiative, Patrick stated that the purpose is to keep talented people in Massachusetts and to promote economic growth.
“By giving more young people and families the opportunity to own a home, we retain our talent pool and create sustainable long term economic growth,” he said.
So far I have not been able to identify any local Pioneer Valley banks that will be participating in the compact. The governor’s press release only mentions larger banks like Citizens Bank and Sovereign Bank, both of which have branches in the valley. Other banks participating are Eastern Bank, Rockland Bank and Trust, Enterprise Bank, and Blue Hills Bank.
However, this doesn’t mean that community banks in the Pioneer Valley will not eventually sign on. The Department of Housing and Community Development, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, and the Division of Banks are also reaching out to other lenders in the commonwealth.
A mortgage originator at UMass Five Credit Union told me that they are actively exploring the possibility of changing their charter to sign on.
Regardless, many local banks already write loans through the Masshousing program. It’s a good idea to ask your Pioneer Valley lender about this program if you are a first-time home buyer.
Grants totaling $1.3 million will be divvied up among 11 regional foreclosure prevention centers by the Massachusetts Division of Banks. However, it is currently unknown if Valley CDC, a local non-profit organization that offers assistance with foreclosure prevention in addition to first-time home buyer classes, will receive any of that money, according to the organizations foreclosure prevention councilor Donna Cabana.
If you are planning on buying or selling a home in the Pioneer Valley, make your first call to Michael Seward at 413-531-7129.