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85% of Bostonians Can't Afford Their City: Mayor

Eighty-five percent of the people of Boston cannot afford to live in the towers tracing the city's flourishing skyline, Mayor Marty Walsh said at a construction conference.

According to Boston Real Estate Now, the asking price for units in the new towers opening up in downtown Boston are inching toward $3,000 per month for studios and a staggering $12,000 per month for penthouses. It's not much better in Cambridge.

Where can middle-class families turn for assistance to avoid being priced out of their beloved city?

Exploring New Down Payment Assistance

Walsh is forming a task force to explore affordable housing options, including constructing new housing that would be affordable for middle-class families.

The panel might adopt an assistance model currently being used by San Francisco, another city coming to grips with skyrocketing housing prices. San Francisco city officials are offering up to $200,000 in down-payment assistance, Boston Real Estate Now reports.

Existing Down Payment Assistance Programs

As Walsh and city officials look into potential options, cash-strapped Bostonians can turn to the following existing assistance programs for help:

  1. MassHousing offers homebuyer programs, including down payment and closing cost assistance;
  2. Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development offers mortgage, down payment and closing cost information for first-time homebuyers;
  3. Massachusetts Housing Consumer Education Centers offers homebuyer classes;
  4. Massachusetts Housing Partnership offers a Soft Second Loan Program for first-time homebuyers;
  5. Citizens' Housing and Planning Association offers Massachusetts Home of Your Own Program for people with disabilities;
  6. Massachusetts Affiliates of Habitat for Humanity build and rehabilitate houses for families in need through volunteer labor; and
  7. U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Housing offers homebuyer programs in rural communities.

There are also homeownership assistance programs available in specific cities and towns. Programs change often so it is important to check regularly with nonprofit agencies and federal, state, and city governments for eligibility requirements and funding status.

Need Extra Help?

If you apply for a home loan down payment assistance program but are not accepted, don't lose heart. There are several other options available to finance a home's down payment.

Aspiring homebuyers may want to consult a real estate lawyer for more information on specific financing options.

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