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Massachusetts first-time homebuyer assistance programs

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

Are you interested in purchasing your first home, but worried about affordability? Despite high prices in the Boston area, there is hope, thanks to the many financial assistance programs available to First Time Homebuyers. This article offers an introduction to some of the programs offered in Massachusetts which are designed to ease the financial burden of buying a home.

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One of the original Thirteen Colonies, historic Massachusetts has all-too-contemporary real estate prices: in December 2022, homes were selling for a median price of $534,000 according to Redfin, over $100,00o above the national median.

The good news? Even with high prices, first-time homebuyers in Massachusetts have access to low-interest loans and other programs that can help make homeownership more affordable. There are options available through MassHousing as well as the nonprofit Massachusetts Housing Partnership.

Massachusetts first-time homebuyer loan programs

MassHousing Mortgage

Well-suited to first-time homebuyers, MassHousing offers a fixed-rate mortgage featuring MI Plus, a type of mortgage payment protection that covers the mortgage principal and interest in the event of a job loss. MI Plus covers payments for as long as six months, and up to $2,000 per month.

Borrower requirements:
  • Must meet credit and other eligibility requirements as determined by mortgage lender

  • Must complete homebuyer education course

  • Must meet MassHousing income limits

  • Must work with an approved lender

Property requirements:
  • Must be a single- to four-family home, or condominium

MassHousing Operation Welcome Home

MassHousing’s Operation Welcome Home program offers a fixed-rate mortgage to first-time homebuyer military members and veterans. (The first-time buyer requirement doesn’t apply to military members and veterans buying in Boston and other select markets.)

Along with the mortgage, the program offers closing cost assistance up to $2,500, which can be combined with MassHousing down payment assistance. In order to qualify, borrowers must be a member of the National Guard or Reserves, active-duty military, veteran or Gold Star family member, and also meet income limits and other eligibility requirements.

Massachusetts Housing Partnership ONE Mortgage

The Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) offers a 30-year fixed-rate loan, the ONE Mortgage, for low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers. There is no private mortgage insurance requirement for this loan, and extra assistance is available to help lower the borrower’s monthly payments.

Borrower requirements:

  • 3 percent down payment for a single- or two-family home or condominium; 5 percent down payment for a three-family home

  • 640 minimum credit score for single-family home or condo; 660 minimum credit score for two- or three-family home

  • Maximum 38 percent debt-to-income ratio (exceptions up to 43 percent in some cases)

  • Assets can’t exceed $75,000, excluding college or retirement savings

  • Must complete homebuyer education courses

  • Must meet MHP income limits

Property requirements:

  • Must be primary residence

  • Must be a single- to three-family home, or condominium

Massachusetts down payment assistance

MassHousing Down Payment Assistance program

MassHousing provides first-time homebuyers with down payment assistance (DPA) for up to $50,000 or 10 percent of the home’s purchase price, whichever is less. The assistance comes in the form of a 15-year, fixed-rate loan with an interest rate of 2 percent. The loan must be repaid when the home is sold or the loan is refinanced.

Borrower requirements:

  • Must meet MassHousing income limits unless buying in Boston or one of several other “Gateway Cities” (including Lowell, Springfield and Worcester), where borrowers can earn up to 135 percent of the area median income (AMI) and still be eligible

Property requirements:

  • Must be a single- to four-family home, or condominium


MassDreams, a program launched in autumn 2022, offers upfront cash assistance to first-time homebuyers in 29 communities that were hit hard by the pandemic. Applicants making up to 135 percent of their area’s median income may qualify for up to $50,000 for down payments and closing costs, depending on the area in which they’re buying and their income. The money is designed to be paired with a MHP or MassHousing first mortgage.

MassHousing Workforce Advantage 2.0

MassHousing’s Workforce Advantage 2.0 program offers up to $50,000 in down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers. Through the program, buyers receive a fixed-rate MassHousing Mortgage (with MI Plus protection) and a down payment assistance loan with zero-percent interest. The payments on the DPA loan are deferred until you sell or transfer ownership of the home, or pay off or refinance the first mortgage.

Borrower requirements:

  • Can earn up to 80 percent of area median income (AMI)

Property requirements:

  • Must be a single- or two-family home, or condominium

Other first-time homebuyer loan programs

In addition to MassHousing and Massachusetts Housing Partnership programs and assistance, first-time homebuyers can also take advantage of FHA, VA and USDA loans, which offer terms and rates that can make it easier to purchase a home.

Contact us, Marino & Marino, P.C. today and let us guide you to owning your first home!

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