Helping first time homebuyers in Boston and elsewhere

A question that has been coming up in the neighborhood is, "How can we help children who have grown up in our community buy homes and stay here?"

Prices for reasonably-sized "starter homes" have skyrocketed here in the past several years. Here's how a condominium in a Franklin St row house has tripled in value since 1997, showing that Allston's ownership affordability is certainly not what it used to be.
1997 = $140,000
2000 = $200,000
2003 = $300,000
2006 = $450,000
2007 = $475,000

A summary of Boston and other nearby programs for first-time and median-income homebuyers shows that the housing assistance in Boston is much less than what Cambridge, Newton, and Brookline provide.

Buyers making less than 120% of the area median income can receive from $1,000 to 3% of their purchase price.

For a family of four can make up to $98,900 to qualify. A Bank of America calculator suggests that with this income you could afford to buy a home in the $400,000 range. A 3% grant would be $12,000. This is approximately 1/10th of what is available in nearby communities.

For first-time homebuyers earning up to 80% of the area median income, Cambridge gives grants for as much as 6% of the cost of a home. To receive the full grant, the homebuyer must live in the home for 5 years.

For first-time homebuyers earning up to 100% of the area median income, Cambridge gives grants for up to $130,000. The homebuyer must live in the home, to long-term restrictions limiting the future resale price of the property, and have lived in Cambridge for at least one year.

Income eligible homebuyers can receive as much as $125,000 to buy a single-family home or condominium. The price of the home must be less than $365,750, the purchaser must live in the home, and other conditions apply.

A grant of up to $115,000 for people with income less than 80% of the median who are either a first-time homebuyer, or live or work in Newton.

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