For Immediate Release - April 24, 2009

Governor Patrick Announces Free Homebuyer Fairs and Open Houses to Promote Affordable Homeownership Opportunities in Massachusetts

Latest series of "Opportunity Knocks'' homebuyer fairs will be held at 10 shopping malls across the state on May 2 and May 9

BOSTON - April 24, 2009 - As part of his Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state's economic future, Governor Deval Patrick today announced today that the latest series of free "Opportunity Knocks'' regional homebuyer fairs and open houses to promote affordable homeownership opportunities in Massachusetts will held on Saturday, May 2, and Saturday, May 9, at 10 shopping malls across Massachusetts.

"Helping low and moderate-income homebuyers achieve their goals through efforts like Opportunity Knocks will contribute to the Commonwealth's economic recovery, while helping stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods affected by foreclosure," said Governor Patrick.

The 10 Opportunity Knocks homebuyer fairs are being sponsored by MassHousing and the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®, in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, Massachusetts Housing Partnership, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Massachusetts Bankers Association, Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association and the Massachusetts Credit Union League.

Prospective homebuyers will have the opportunity to learn more about the homebuying process from MassHousing staff, REALTORS®, mortgage lenders and homebuyer counseling agencies.

"Despite what you may hear about the economy, it remains a great time to buy a home in Massachusetts, particularly for first-time homebuyers,'' said MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason. "Home prices are down, interest rates are historically low, and safe, affordable, fixed-rate financing is available from MassHousing.''

MassHousing's MassAdvantage and MyCommunity home loans feature safe and affordable fixed rates and include unique benefits such as MassHousing's MI Plus™ mortgage insurance, which will help pay the borrower's monthly principal and interest payments for up to six months in the event of a job loss. MassHousing mortgages offer competitive interest rates, low- and no down payment options, and discounted rates for lower-income borrowers.

"To secure our state's economic future and to restore and revitalize communities all across the Commonwealth, these homebuyer fairs will offer wonderful opportunities for those on all income levels to secure a safe, decent and affordable home," said Tina Brooks, the state's Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development.

An innovative aspect of the Opportunity Knocks homebuyer fairs will be the availability of listings for affordable properties where REALTORS® will be hosting open houses the weekends of May 2 and 3 and May 9 and 10. These homes will be pre-selected to fall within MassHousing's purchase price limits to be affordable to low- and moderate-income families. These special listings will be available at www.masshomefair.com.

"Opportunity Knocks homebuyer fairs really puts it all together for homebuyers,'' said Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® President Gary Rogers, broker at RE/MAX First Realty in Waltham. "You can meet with REALTORS®, lenders, and homebuyer counselors and walk away with all the tools you need - including listings of affordable open houses - to become a homeowner.''

Prospective buyers will also receive information on how to apply for an affordable, safe, fixed-rate 30-year mortgage from MassHousing and an affordable, fixed-rate SoftSecond mortgage from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership.

MHP's SoftSecond Loan Program combines fixed-rate financing from a bank with a one-time state subsidy that keeps monthly mortgage payments low and eliminates the need for costly private mortgage insurance. Homebuyers interested in buying a foreclosed property can also learn about an enhanced version of SoftSecond, which waives the program's first-time homebuyer requirement, raises the program's household income limit and makes rehabilitation grants available when the property is in an area that is eligible for federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding.

"We're excited to be part of this effort to let homebuyers know about affordable housing opportunities and safe and secure mortgage products that homebuyers can use to stay in homes for the long run,'' said MHP Executive Director Clark Ziegler.

The Opportunity Knocks homebuying fairs will be held at the following locations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 2:

Berkshire Mall, Lanesborough

North Shore Mall, Peabody

Auburn Mall

Cape Cod Mall, Barnstable

Dartmouth Mall

The Opportunity Knocks homebuyer fairs will be held at the following locations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 9:

Holyoke Mall

Square One Mall, Saugus

Solomon Pond Mall, Marlborough

Westgate Mall, Brockton

Silver City Galleria, Taunton

For more information about the Opportunity Knocks homebuying fairs and listings of affordable homes for sale with open houses, please visit www.masshomefair.com.

For more information about Opportunity Knocks sponsors, please visit:

MassHousing: www.masshousing.com

Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®: www.marealtor.com

Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation: www.mass.gov/ocabr

Department of Housing and Community Development: www.mass.gov/dhcd

Massachusetts Housing Partnership: www.mhp.net

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston: www.boston.frb.org

Massachusetts Bankers Association: www.massbankers.org

Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association: www.massmba.com

Massachusetts Credit Union League: www.maleague.org

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The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development is one of eight Secretariats that make up the Governor's Cabinet. Under the leadership of Secretary Gregory Bialecki, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development oversees the following undersecretariats: the Departments of Business Development, Housing and Community Development, and Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.