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Mass. Seeks To Boost First-Time Homeownership

BOSTON — Lenders are committing to approve at least 10,000 mortgages for first-time homebuyers in Massachusetts over the next five years.

Aaron Gornstein, undersecretary for the Department of Housing and Community Development, says the Massachusetts Home Ownership Compact offers mortgage loans for buyers with household incomes that fall below the median income in their geographical areas.

“For many younger families, affordable homeownership is key to setting down roots and contributing to our innovation economy,” Gornstein said. “It also helps to build assets and stronger neighborhoods.”

At the compact kick-off event in Dorchester Monday, Gov. Deval Patrick was joined by officials from participating banks, including Citizens Bank, Sovereign Bank, Eastern Bank, Rockland Bank and Trust, Enterprise Banks and Blue Hills Bank.

Patrick said “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.”

State officials are appealing to more lenders to join the compact, which calls for loans to be administered through the nonprofit agencies MassHousing and Massachusetts Housing Partnership.

In addition to setting the goal of 10,000 mortgage loans over the next five years, state banking regulators awarded Monday $1.3 million in grants to 11 regional foreclosure prevention centers and 10 centers that encourage individual and first-time homeownership.

“The centers receiving these grants do critical work, providing valuable education to potential homebuyers and aiding those who are underwater or may be at risk of foreclosure,” said Barbara Anthony, undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

Patrick has proclaimed the week of June 10-16 Commonwealth Housing Week, which will include a number of events focused on affordable housing and foreclosure prevention.

With reporting by The Associated Press, State House News Service and the WBUR Newsroom

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