A New Housing Initiative May Help Millennials Afford Houses

The Mayor announced a mortgage program that will reduce interest rates for those with eligible incomes, in hopes of creating more first-time homebuyers.

giving away keys

Photo by Tumisu via Pixabay

Listen up, millennials: You can have your avocado toast and eat it, too. Or, your multiple jobs and maybe even afford to buy a house. Mayor Marty Walsh just announced a new housing initiative that will allow income-qualifying home buyers to pay off their mortgage at a reduced interest rate.

Which means, eligible residents can benefit from lower payments each month, or enjoy a larger or nicer property (re: higher mortgage) at a reduced rate that is now within their range. The interest rate cut for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is available to both income-restricted and market-rate homes.

But this program, called ONE+ Boston Mortgage, isn’t just for millennials desperate to escape the rental cycle. Groups such as the Barriers to Homeownership Working Group, which worked to create the program, were looking to provide solutions for low and middle-income families, families of color, and other first-time homebuyers, according to a press release from the mayor’s office.

In addition to the Working Group, ONE+ Mortgage is a collaboration of efforts from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP), the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, and the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization.

The new program is an enhanced version of the MHP’s pre-existing ONE Mortgage program, which seeks to help two-person households making less than $90,000 afford their first home by buying down interest rates.

Money to fund the reduced interest rates that ONE+ Mortgage offers will come from the $3.8 million produced by the Community Preservation Act, a surcharge on property tax bills that voters passed in 2016.

“The ONE+Boston Mortgage will expand the purchasing power for Bostonians interested in becoming first-time homebuyers. This is a great use of Community Preservation funds and an investment in Boston’s future that strengthens homeownership and gives residents a chance to buy a home in the neighborhoods they love,” said Mayor Walsh in his announcement.

Homebuyers can combine the reduced interest rate savings and additional financial aid from the city’s Boston Home Center up to a cap of $50,000. The Boston Home Center can offer loan assistance for down payment costs, a huge barrier to access for many potential homebuyers.

Starting this fall, those looking to call a new home their own—and not just until September 1—can seek out the ONE+ Mortgage program at Citizens Bank, the City of Boston Credit Union, Eastern Bank, Rockland Trust, Boston Private Bank, Cambridge Trust, and Santander Bank.