Down Payment Assistance Provides Hope and Empowers First-Time Home Buyers

March 25, 2020

- By MassHousing

You know the story all too well.

An earnest individual or couple comes into your office with dreams of homeownership. But with the high cost of homes, they soon discover they don’t have enough for a down payment. The dream is deferred.

That is changing for many first-time buyers with modest incomes in Massachusetts, thanks to MassHousing’s down payment assistance which is now even more generous than when it was first launched in 2018.

Qualified borrowers can now get down payment assistance from MassHousing for up to 5% of the purchase price or $15,000 whichever is less.

The DPA can be used with more property types, too, including single-family homes, condominiums, and two, three, or four-family properties.

The income limits are higher, too. First-time homebuyers in Boston and the Commonwealth’s 26 Gateway Cities* can earn up to 135% of the area median income (AMI); first-time buyers can earn up to 100% of AMI in the remainder of the Commonwealth.

Here are the income limits in some of the different regions of the Commonwealth:

Adams:             $101,200
Springfield        $102,600
Fall River:          $114,885
Worcester:        $128,655
Fitchburg:         $128,655
Brockton:          $147,420
Salem:              $147,420
Lowell:              $147,420

The down payment assistance comes in the form of a fifteen year, fixed-rate loan at 2%, and must be used in conjunction with a MassHousing first mortgage loan.

“If you have the job stability, if you have the good credit, if you have a little money out of your own pocket, we can help you achieve sustainable homeownership with a MassHousing mortgage product,” says Vice President for Home Ownership Programs Mounzer Aylouche.

Here are two real-world examples of the MassHousing DPA in action:

A borrower in Brockton with an income of $104,000 and a debt-to-income ratio of 45% bought a home with a purchase price of $293,500. She received $8,805 in down payment assistance from MassHousing as well as a first mortgage loan of $284,695.

A home buyer in New Bedford with an income of $58,000 and a debt-to-income ratio of 39% bought a home with a purchase price of $192,000. He received $5,760 in down payment assistance and a MassHousing first mortgage loan of $186,240.

Demand, as you would expect, is strong. MassHousing has closed 2,055 down payment assistance loans totaling $15.8 million in less than two years.

“All of the talks about rising home prices can be intimidating, but buyers feel optimistic when they learn that they can actually get help with the down payment,” says Aylouche.

“I urge REALTORS® to mention MassHousing and our down payment assistance program to any first-time buyer,” he says. “You will see hope in their eyes.”

More information can be found at

*Massachusetts Gateway Cities are Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, and Worcester.