Homeownership Development can be a powerful tool for policymakers and developers to create and invest in strong communities.
There are multiple homeownership programs and policies that the Chamber supports to increase homeownership in the Worcester Area.
Homeownership in Worcester is expensive as the YTD Median Single-Family Home Price in Massachusetts is $499,999. Compounded with the fact that the homeownership percentage rate is around 40% which is much lower than the National average (64.5%). Also, Worcester has a high rental community with around 60% of residents in the city renting. This has allowed Worcester to have the 14th Lowest Homeownership rate for a mid-sized city. This situation creates a barrier of for the community to access homeownership options.
Loan Assistance Programs
- My Mass Mortgage is a website run by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. The goal of the program is to help low-income and first-time homebuyers by listing affordably priced homes across the state. The program offers state-sponsored mortgage products as well as courses and counseling to help homebuyers through the process/
- MassHouisng Programs help first time homebuyers and people of color with common economic barriers by providing down payment assistance and affordable mortgages to homebuyer.
- The City of Worcester offers a Down Payment Assistance Program, where first time income qualified homebuyers can be provided with up to $5,000 in a down payment and closing cost assistance. The program is made possible through the HUD Community Development Block Grant funding.
- Down Payment Assistance
General increase in the interest of condominium development in Worcester, as they provide affordable pathways to homeownership. Condominiums with an average sale price of $200,000, can be an affordable way for first-time homebuyers to get into the market and own property.
In Worcester the Chamber is looking at the importance of the creation of downtown condos to help revitalize the downtown area.
Lease-To-Purchase Program is a housing program with a mission driven developer, community-based organization, or a private corporation that purchases or develops a property and structures a long-term lease for a prospective buyer. This an idea based on other programs around the country
Employer-Assisted Housing programs are becoming more popular where employers are increasingly investing in their employees’ homeownership. Results have shown that these programs increase staff satisfaction while also improving an employer’s bottom line. Below is a list of mat forms of employee assistance.
- Many Forms of Employee Assistance:
- Home buyer assistance
- Rental assistance
- Homeownership education and counseling
- New Construction in neighborhoods near their facility
- Renovation of substandard homes around the employer’s location
What Cities & Town Can Do
Cities & Towns can help in the homeownership process with the Housing Choice Community Grant Programs. This program is by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development which grants up to $250,000 in awards to municipalities. Cities and towns are the only entities that can apply. Awards go toward the planning, engineering, or infrastructure projects necessary to complement new housing developments.
At the Chamber we believe we need a regional approach to housing development.