Posted on July 19, 2019
BOSTON – At a homeownership rally before over 900 residents at Roxbury’s Reggie Lewis Center on July 18, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that the City of Boston has finalized details of a new demonstration program that will combine Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds with MHP’s ONE Mortgage Program to increase homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate income first-time homebuyers.
Called ONE+Boston, the new program was created by Mayor Walsh’s Barrier to Homeownership Working Group, which included the MHP, the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA) and the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization.
“The ONE+Boston Mortgage will expand the purchasing power for Bostonians interested in becoming first-time homebuyers,” Mayor Walsh said. “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. I commend MAHA and GBIO for their leadership and advocacy, and thank MHP and the participating lenders for their commitment to innovation in the mortgage marketplace.”
ONE+Boston will utilize $3.8 million in City of Boston CPA funds to finance a permanent reduction in the interest rate of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for income-eligible Bostonians buying their first home within the city limits. This interest-rate reduction means the new homebuyer could afford a larger mortgage at a monthly payment that is still affordable to them, and ultimately, translates into more buying power for the new homebuyer.
“Our homebuyer graduates need good news and this new program certainly qualifies,” said Symone Crawford, Mattapan resident and director of Homeownership Education at MAHA. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Mayor Walsh and his housing team, MHP, and participating lenders to assist more first-time homebuyers. For nearly 30 years, ONE Mortgage has done more to close the racial homeownership gap, and with this important enhancement, we can do even more.”
ONE+Boston will enhance MHP’s ONE Mortgage Program for first-time homebuyers earning less than 100 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), or $90,000 for a two-person household. This interest rate write down may be combined with additional financial assistance from the City of Boston through the Boston Home Center. Homes purchased through this mortgage product may be market-rate, or income-restricted. The total amount a borrower can receive between the write down and BHC downpayment/closing cost assistance is $50,000.
“Thanks to the City of Boston’s leadership, ONE+Boston will substantially expand the impact of the ONE Mortgage Program, which has enjoyed strong support from the Baker-Polito administration and has helped more than 5,000 families become successful first-time homeowners in the City of Boston,” said Clark Ziegler, executive director of MHP, the quasi-public organization that helped create and administers ONE Mortgage.
Offered by participating banks and credit unions, ONE Mortgage is the state’s most affordable mortgage program. Created in 1990, it has helped over 21,000 purchase their first home. Nearly half of the buyers are people of color. Participating banks who have signed on to offer ONE+Boston include Citizens Bank, the City of Boston Credit Union, Eastern Bank, Rockland Trust, Boston Private Bank, Cambridge Trust, and Santander Bank. These seven lenders are the top current ONE lenders in Boston, and routinely work with Boston Home Center first-time homebuyers, often utilizing MHP’s ONE Mortgage. The demonstration project will likely be scaled up to include other lenders in the future.
“The ONE Mortgage Program has been an incredibly impactful lending program for the community, empowering thousands of Massachusetts residents to purchase a place to call home,” said Nancy Monbouquette, Vice President and Home Mortgage New England regional manager at Citizens Bank, a ONE+Boston participating lender. “We are pleased to continue working with such outstanding organizations like the City of Boston, Massachusetts Housing Partnership and Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance. Through these partnerships and this innovative expansion of the ONE Mortgage Program, we will be able to help even more Bostonians reach their homeownership goals.”