Affordable homeownership is a unique path to make owning a home a reality to households that may not have the means to purchase a home on the open market. These homes can be sold as new construction or “resales” by people who own a home and now want to sell it. Affordable homes can be single-family or condominiums and remain affordable through a deed restriction. Each home is awarded through a lottery selection process, and households that fill the bedroom size are given preference. Please visit the My Mass Home Website for other homeownership opportunities.
The eligibility requirements may be different for each opportunity, so check each application for details, but in general, you must:
Obtain a mortgage pre-approval from a lender.
Check our financing information for details.
Have an income below certain limits, most often 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI).
The Area Median Income (AMI) is established for Barnstable County by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In order to be income eligible, your anticipated annual gross income for all current adult household members must be at or below the 80% AMI HUD Income Limits for Barnstable County as shown in chart below.
Gross annual income refers to all earnings before any deductions are made.
|80% of AMI (2023)
Have less than $75,000 in assets or $275,000 for age-restricted developments.
Household assets include:
- Cash in savings accounts, checking accounts, and safety deposit boxes, etc.
- Certificates of deposit, bonds, stocks, treasury bills, mutual funds, and money market accounts.
- Revocable trusts.
- Equity in rental property or other capital accounts.
- Cash value of life insurance policies available to the applicant before death.
- Personal property held as an investment: Gems, jewelry, coin collections, or antique cars, etc. Personal jewelry is NOT considered an asset.
- Lump sum receipts or one-time receipts. (i.e. inheritance, capital gains, one-time lottery winnings, victim’s restitution, settlements on insurance claims (including health and accident insurance, worker’s compensation, and personal or property losses), and any other amounts that are not intended as periodic payments.
- A mortgage or deed of trust held by an applicant.
- IRA, 401(k), 403B, retirement and/or pension funds (if employed). *These will include only amounts the applicant can withdraw without retiring or terminating employment, minus any penalties or transaction fees. (You will be responsible for determining and verifying how much of these funds are available to you as cash.)
Household assets DO NOT include:
- Personal property (i.e. clothing, furniture, cars, wedding ring and other jewelry that is not held as an investment, vehicles specially equipped for persons with disabilities).
- Term life insurance policies (i.e. policies with no cash value).
- Equity in the cooperative unit in which the applicant lives.
- Assets that are part of an active business. Business DOES NOT include rental of properties that are held as investments unless such properties are the applicant’s main source of income.
- Assets that are not effectively owned by the applicant.
First-time homebuyer qualifications (some exceptions may apply).
- Have had no ownership interest in a residential property in the last 3 years.
- Have at least one household member who is age 55 or older.
- Are displaced homemakers.
- Are single parents, unmarried, or legally separated from their spouse with sole or joint custody of one or more children or pregnant.
- Have owned or currently own a principal residence not permanently affixed to a permanent foundation.
- Owned property that was not in compliance with state, local or model building codes and that cannot be brought into compliance for less than the cost of constructing a permanent structure.
Agree to a deed restriction which contains certain responsibilities you will have as an affordable homeowner.
Check our resources and documents for homebuyers.
Live in the home as your principal residence.
The home must be your primary residence. Renting out your affordable home is not permitted.
Understand we give preference to households that maximize bedrooms sizes.
Households that maximize the number of bedrooms have preference, i.e. a household requiring three bedrooms would have preference over a smaller household for a three-bedroom home.
The following criteria are considered to determine if a household maximizes a unit:
- At least one occupant per bedroom.
- Married or unmarried couples must share a bedroom.
- An increase in the number of bedrooms required may be allowed if there is a medical necessity for someone to have a separate bedroom. This would require that a physician certify the necessity.
- An unborn child may be counted as a household member if proof of pregnancy is submitted with the application.
- If the applicant is in the process of a divorce or separation, the applicant must provide proof that the divorce or separation has begun or has been finalized.
What are the Program Standards for New Mortgage Loans?
- Fixed interest rate through the full term of the mortgage
- The loan must be from a lending institution. Loans from private parties are not allowed.
- Interest rate that is no more than 2 percentage points above the current Freddie Mac rate.
- No more than 2 points can be paid towards mortgage interest rate.
- The buyer must provide a down payment of at least 3%, half of which must come from the buyer’s own funds.
- The buyer may not pay more than 38% of their monthly gross income for principal, interest, property taxes, hazard insurance, private mortgage insurance and homeowner association fees.
- Non-household members are not permitted as co-signers of the mortgage.
- FHA & VA loans will not accept the terms of the deed restriction for these houses.
What is a Pre-Approval Letter?
Lenders will issue a pre-approval letter after they have reviewed your credit score, credit report, income, and expenses. The pre-approval must be dated on the lender’s letterhead showing the dollar amount and type of loan and must include an authorized signature.
- Homeowner/Homebuyer FAQs
- Capital Improvements – MassHousing
- Homebuyer Disclosure Statement – LIP
- Homebuyer Disclosure Statement – MassHousing
- Income and Assets
- Local Initiative Program (LIP) Deed Rider
- MassHousing Universal Deed Rider
- MA Property Tax Rates
- The Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC) Website