Two new programs to help homebuyers in Westfield

WESTFIELD – MassHousing and Westfield Mayor Brian P. Sullivan have announced a limited-time, $1,500 closing cost credit for low- and moderate-income homebuyers that will run through September to make homeownership more attainable, and sustainable, for working families. The closing cost credit is available to qualified buyers with incomes at or below 80% of the Area Median Income, which is $82,270 in Eastern Massachusetts and $53,280 in Western Massachusetts.

Many homebuyers are having a difficult time navigating the current Massachusetts housing market, according to press release. An extremely low level of inventory of homes for sale, rising prices and sluggish construction rates of reasonably-priced new homes are all combining to squeeze would-be homebuyers, especially low- and moderate-income buyers.

MassHousing Executive Director Tim Sullivan said the new pilot incentive program aims to make homeownership more achievable for buyers who may be struggling in the current housing market. “Through this program… we are advancing MassHousing’s longstanding commitment to providing affordable, conventional mortgage finance to Massachusetts residents,” Tim Sullivan said.

“This is a great summer program to assist families who might be looking to relocate before the fall. We are grateful that MassHousing is offering this program in Western Massachusetts. Westfield is a great place to work, live and raise a family,” added Westfield Mayor Brian P. Sullivan.

Peter J. Miller, director of community development for the City of Westfield.

MassHousing has designed the new closing cost credit to be as simple and user-friendly as possible for the agency’s 170 approved lenders; and for realtors and homebuyers. For borrowers of modest means, the $1,500 closing cost credit delivers added affordability to their home purchase. Borrowers will receive the credit at closing, with no strings attached, no hidden fees and no payback requirements.

Westfield’s community development director Peter J. Miller called the program “unprecedented.”
“I’ve never seen it before. That (closing costs) is one of the hardest things for people. Getting some credit might entice more people to start to think about it,” said Miller.

He also said it was great timing. The City of Westfield is currently working with MassHousing, realtors and lenders to launch a new “Buy Westfield Now” program to incentivize people to buy homes in Westfield. Miller said a team of 10-12 people are soliciting incentives from lenders, attorneys and home inspectors, and are putting together a packet for homebuyers, which might include lower fees from attorneys, or credit for closing costs from different groups.
Miller said the city is looking to roll the program out in September, and hold a public event in October. He said early support from four local businesses is helping them to build a “Buy Westfield Now” website, which will be up by the beginning of September.

“The whole point is to use Westfield businesses as our vendors. The whole project will be Westfield centric,” Miller said. He agreed that the housing inventory is very low, and there are a lot of buyers, when homes are priced right. “We’re trying to make the Westfield market as healthy as we can, and bring more buyers to market. People are looking for houses,” Miller added.

Details about the MassHousing $1,500 closing cost credit  program running now through September are available at www.masshousing.com or by contacting a MassHousing-approved lender.  For more information, contact Amber Danahey, community outreach coordinator at [email protected].

MassHousing (The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency) is an independent, quasi-public agency created in 1966 and charged with providing financing for affordable housing in Massachusetts. The agency raises capital by selling bonds and lends the proceeds to low- and moderate-income homebuyers and homeowners, and to developers who build or preserve affordable and/or mixed-income rental housing. MassHousing does not use taxpayer dollars to sustain its operations, although it administers some publicly funded programs on behalf of the Commonwealth. Since its inception, MassHousing has provided more than $20 billion for affordable housing.

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