Frequently Asked Questions
What is MassHousing?
MassHousing was created as the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency by an act of the Massachusetts Legislature in 1966 as an independent public authority charged with increasing affordable rental and for-sale housing in Massachusetts. Learn more about our history and mission.
Does MassHousing use taxpayer dollars to fund its programs?
No. MassHousing is a self-sustaining agency and does not use taxpayer dollars in its programs. Instead, we sell federally authorized, tax-exempt and taxable bonds to investors to raise the capital for our mortgages. MassHousing then provides loans to eligible borrowers at attractive rates and terms, making the housing we finance more affordable to low- and moderate-income households. Investors in MassHousing bonds receive a return on their investment that is supported by the monthly mortgage payments made by our borrowers.
What are MassHousing's primary business lines?
MassHousing provides financing for Massachusetts homebuyers with modest incomes. The Agency also provides financing to build rental housing where at least 20% of the units are reserved for low- and moderate-income residents or to preserve existing affordable rental housing across the Commonwealth. Through a contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, MassHousing also provides subsidy administration and oversight for a number of rental housing properties in Massachusetts that include more than 40,000 privately owned and managed apartments. Learn more in our Agency backgrounder.
What are the benefits of a MassHousing Mortgage?
MassHousing makes 30-year, fixed-rate home mortgages available at rates and terms that are either better or not readily available from private lenders. These include loans that do not require mortgage insurance, even with downpayments as low as 3%. Loans that are insured by MassHousing feature MI Plus, a unique product that can help a borrower with mortgage payments in the event they lose their job. Existing homeowners can take advantage of MassHousing loan products to refinance into a more affordable mortgage, repair a failed septic system, remove hazardous lead paint or upgrade their property.
How can I get a MassHousing Mortgage?
MassHousing does not originate its mortgage loans, but instead partners with approximately 160 community banks, credit unions and other lenders who originate MassHousing loans and offer MI Plus mortgage insurance on their own portfolio loans. We also partner with municipalities and community organizations to make available homebuyer counseling and other programs.
Who services MassHousing Mortgages?
MassHousing services loans originated by our partner lenders with our in-house loan servicing department, which provides personal attention and support to our borrowers.
How does MassHousing lend to developers of affordable rental housing?
For new construction, MassHousing offers financing for projects where at least 20% of the units are reserved for low- and moderate-income residents. We provide construction, bridge and permanent financing with low interest rates, 30- or 40-year mortgage terms and federal Housing Tax Credits.
For existing rental communities, we provide creative refinancing options that aim to preserve affordability, provide resources for physical upgrades and updates. These complex transactions are structured to provide the best mix of affordable housing resources for the property and the borrower.
How do I get an affordable apartment in a MassHousing-financed rental community?
MassHousing is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the communities we finance and oversee. Those responsibilities are handled by private property management companies at each development. Those seeking an affordable unit in a MassHousing rental community should contact the property management company for information on qualifications, vacancies and the application process. Visit www.masshousing.com/renters to access a searchable list of rental communities in the MassHousing portfolio.
How is MassHousing involved with Chapter 40B?
MassHousing is one of several state or quasi-public agencies that provide site approval, final approval and cost certification under Chapter 40B, the state's "anti-snob" zoning law. We work with developers, town residents and municipal officials to make certain that all opinions are heard and to create housing that best serves the community.