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Home Mortgage Rates in Massachusetts

Downtown Boston.

The metro Boston area has an estimated population of 4,794,447 while 6,811,779 live across the state. With more than 70 percent of its population living in the Greater Boston area, Massachusetts is a study in contrasts. A few of the most notable ones are rural versus urban, historical versus modern and rich versus poor.

Massachusetts is the site of the first colony in New England. The Pilgrims landed in 1620 in Plymouth, and much of America's early history can be traced to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Originally a state dependent on fishing and farming, the state’s economy switched over to manufacturing after the Industrial Revolution and has shifted again in recent decades to focus more on engineering, finance and biotechnology.

The state prides itself on its education system. Not only are two of the most highly ranked universities in the word located there – Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – but the Massachusetts public school system also ranks as one of the nation's best.

MIT Campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Centuries old homes dot the landscape while modern glass high-rises fill the Boston skyline. However, the law of supply and demand has a big impact on Massachusetts real estate. June 2017 marked the 64th time in 65 months that the state's inventory of single family homes decreased when compared with the previous month, according to an article in the Boston Globe.

That demand for inventory is driving up prices across the state. The median home value in Massachusetts was $377,200 in September 2017. That value represents an increase of 7.1 percent over the previous year, and analysts expect values will rise 2.7 percent over the next year.

The median listing price for a home in the state was $419,900 with the median price per square foot at $243. The average rental price in Massachusetts was $2,600.

How Massachusetts Weathered the 2008 Recession

On some levels, it appears Massachusetts came through the recession well. Its poverty rate – one of the nation's lowest – has remained stable throughout the past decade as has its annual incomes. Analysts believe the low poverty rate is due to the fact that the state draws highly educated workers to its many jobs in technology, health and higher education.

On the other hand, the lack of new single-family homes on the market in Massachusetts reveals a sluggish rate of new construction since 2008.

Another factor – and another one of the state's marked contrasts – is the wide income gap among wage earners. Massachusetts vies with Arizona for the state with the widest income span in the nation. The top 10 percent of Massachusetts households earn an income that is equivalent to that of the bottom 70 percent combined.

The low inventory and resulting increasing prices for homes have made it difficult for first-time buyers to find affordable single-family homes or condos in the Boston area.

Foreclosures are still impacting the Massachusetts real estate market. In Boston, 6.1 homes were foreclosed (per 10,000) in 2017. This number exceeds the national rate of 1.7 homes per 10,000.

Popular Locations Across the State

Metropolitan Areas

MA Rank US Rank Metropolitan Area 2016 Pop 2010 Pop Change % △
1 10 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metro Area 4,794,447 4,552,402 242,045 5.32%
2 38 Providence-Warwick, RI-MA Metro Area 1,614,750 1,600,852 13,898 0.87%

3

58 Worcester, MA-CT Metro Area 935,781 916,980 18,801 2.05%
4 90 Springfield 630,283 621,570 8,713 1.40%
5 208 Barnstable 214,276 215,888 -1,612 -0.75%
6 321 Pittsfield 126,903 131,219 -4,316 -3.29%
7 479 Greenfield 70,382 71,372 -990 -1.39%
8 919 Vineyard Haven 17,246 16,535 711 4.30%

Boston

Boston Harbor.

As the state's capital city and its population center, Boston is the heart of Massachusetts. The sprawling metropolitan area offers history, beauty, arts and culture, professional sports, entertainment, fine dining and a fierce sense of civic price.

Comprising the cities of Boston itself, as well as Worcester, Providence, Lowell, Cambridge and Quincy, the Boston metro area spans 4,500 square miles. The city of Boston had a population of 667,137 in 2016, while the Greater Boston area’s population was estimated at 4.7 million.

As you might expect with such a large geographic area, the Greater Boston area has many different communities with their own distinct flavors. Bostonians take pride in their roots and in their neighborhoods.

The median value for a home in Boston was $560,300 in mid-2017, an increase of 11 percent over the past year. Experts expect values will rise about 3.8 percent over the next year.

The median listing price of homes in Boston was $699,000, and the average list price per square foot was $645, a price that exceeds the Greater Boston median price of $267. Rents average $2,700 in Boston, as compared with the metro rental average of $2,600.

International buyers are showing an increased interest in downtown Boston real estate, making it their third top choice (after New York and Los Angeles) of American cities for investment. A new Boston price record was set recently when a private equity investor paid $35 million for a penthouse condo.

Springfield

Springfield, Massachusetts Skyline.

Located in western Massachusetts along the eastern banks of the Connecticut River, Springfield and its surrounding area are the second – albeit distant second – most populous area in the state. Founded in 1636, it is the first of the many cities named Springfield in the United States.

Springfield's city population is estimated at 154,074 while its metro population is estimated at 692,942. The city, which shares an airport with its across the river Connecticut neighbor of Hartford, is home to an array of higher educational institutions, including Springfield College, Western New England University and American International College.

The city offers abundant natural beauty and opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. There are 17 different neighborhoods in Springfield, each with its own characteristics and many of which offer a small town feel within a larger city.

The median value for a Springfield home in mid-2017 was $144,100, which is an increase of 8.3 percent over the previous year. Experts predict values will increase 3.7 percent in the coming year. The median home listing price was $149,000.

The average per square foot price was $113, which is lower than the Springfield metro area average price of $152. The average rental price in Springfield was $1,398, which is lower than the metro average of $1,500.

New Bedford, Fall River and Taunton

Palmer Island Lighthouse and New Bedford, Massachusetts Waterfront.

New Bedford, Fall River and Taunton are the three largest cities in the South Coast region of the state of Massachusetts. The entire region includes 11 municipalities with a combined population of about 306,588.

Formerly a whaling capital of the world, the seaport area is home to the largest Portuguese-American community in the nation.

Fishing and manufacturing are the largest businesses in the area, with jobs in tourism and education on the rise. Additionally, the area is embracing wind technology, and it hopes to be a center for that growing energy market.

The median home value in 2017 in New Bedford was $224,500, an increase of 8.7 percent over the previous year. Real estate experts expect that values will rise 3.7 percent over the next year.

The median listing price of in New Bedford was $209,800. The average price per square foot was $149, a price that is lower than the South Coast average of $198.

Massachusetts Census Data

Massachusetts has an estimated population of 6,811,779 across 7,800.6 square miles, giving the state a population density of 873.24 people per square mile. Here is a table of cities & towns with a population above 10,000. based on the 2010 United States Census data & the 2016 population estimate update.

All table columns are sortable. Click on the column headers to sort by that column. Click again to sort low to high. Cities with higher levels of population growth typically see the increased demand drive faster real estate price appreciation.

Rank Geography County 2016 Pop 2010 Pop Change % △ Land mi² Pop Den mi² Established
1 Boston Suffolk 673,184 617,594 55,590 9.00% 48.28 13,943.33 1630
2 Worcester Worcester 184,508 181,045 3,463 1.91% 37.37 4,937.33 1684
3 Springfield Hampden 154,074 153,060 1,014 0.66% 31.87 4,834.45 1636
4 Cambridge Middlesex 110,651 105,162 5,489 5.22% 6.39 17,316.28 1636
5 Lowell Middlesex 110,558 106,519 4,039 3.79% 13.58 8,141.24 1826
6 Brockton Plymouth 95,630 93,810 1,820 1.94% 21.33 4,483.36 1821
7 New Bedford Bristol 95,032 95,072 -40 -0.04% 20 4,751.60 1787
8 Quincy Norfolk 93,688 92,271 1,417 1.54% 16.57 5,654.07 1792
9 Lynn Essex 92,697 90,329 2,368 2.62% 10.74 8,631.01 1629
10 Newton Middlesex 89,045 85,146 3,899 4.58% 17.84 4,991.31 1688
11 Fall River Bristol 88,930 88,857 73 0.08% 33.13 2,684.27 1803
12 Somerville Middlesex 81,322 75,754 5,568 7.35% 4.12 19,738.35 1842
13 Lawrence Essex 80,209 76,377 3,832 5.02% 6.93 11,574.17 1847
14 Framingham Middlesex 71,594 68,318 3,276 4.80% 25.04 2,859.19 1700
15 Waltham Middlesex 63,002 60,632 2,370 3.91% 12.73 4,949.10 1738
16 Haverhill Essex 62,873 60,879 1,994 3.28% 32.97 1,906.98 1641
17 Malden Middlesex 60,840 59,450 1,390 2.34% 5.04 12,071.43 1649
18 Plymouth Plymouth 59,303 56,468 2,835 5.02% 96.46 614.79 1620
19 Brookline Norfolk 59,126 58,732 394 0.67% 6.75 8,759.41 1705
20 Medford Middlesex 57,213 56,173 1,040 1.85% 8.1 7,063.33 1630
21 Taunton Bristol 56,843 55,874 969 1.73% 46.7 1,217.19 1639
22 Chicopee Hampden 55,991 55,298 693 1.25% 22.83 2,452.52 1848
23 Weymouth Norfolk 55,972 53,743 2,229 4.15% 16.79 3,333.65 1635
24 Revere Suffolk 53,157 51,755 1,402 2.71% 5.69 9,342.18 1846
25 Peabody Essex 52,491 51,251 1,240 2.42% 16.21 3,238.19 1868
26 Methuen Essex 49,917 47,255 2,662 5.63% 22.25 2,243.46 1725
27 Everett Middlesex 46,340 41,667 4,673 11.22% 3.43 13,510.20 1870
28 Arlington Middlesex 45,052 42,844 2,208 5.15% 5.15 8,747.96 1807
29 Attleboro Bristol 44,434 43,593 841 1.93% 26.81 1,657.37 1694
30 Barnstable Barnstable 44,254 45,193 -939 -2.08% 59.8 740.03 1639
31 Salem Essex 43,132 41,340 1,792 4.33% 8.28 5,209.18 1626
32 Pittsfield Berkshire 42,846 44,737 -1,891 -4.23% 40.47 1,058.71 1761
33 Billerica Middlesex 42,700 40,243 2,457 6.11% 25.57 1,669.93 1655
34 Leominster Worcester 41,663 40,759 904 2.22% 28.81 1,446.13 1740
35 Westfield Hampden 41,552 41,094 458 1.11% 46.32 897.06 1669
36 Beverly Essex 41,365 39,502 1,863 4.72% 15.09 2,741.22 1668
37 Fitchburg Worcester 40,414 40,318 96 0.24% 27.83 1,452.17 1764
38 Holyoke Hampden 40,280 39,880 400 1.00% 21.28 1,892.86 1850
39 Amherst Hampshire 40,079 37,819 2,260 5.98% 27.6 1,452.14 1775
40 Chelsea Suffolk 39,699 35,177 4,522 12.85% 2.21 17,963.35 1739
41 Marlborough Middlesex 39,697 38,499 1,198 3.11% 20.87 1,902.11 1660
42 Woburn Middlesex 39,452 38,120 1,332 3.49% 12.64 3,121.20 1642
43 Braintree Norfolk 37,297 35,744 1,553 4.34% 13.75 2,712.51 1640
44 Shrewsbury Worcester 36,760 35,608 1,152 3.24% 20.73 1,773.28 1727
45 Natick Middlesex 36,137 33,006 3,131 9.49% 14.95 2,417.19 1781
46 Chelmsford Middlesex 35,152 33,802 1,350 3.99% 22.37 1,571.39 1655
47 Watertown Middlesex 35,025 31,915 3,110 9.74% 3.99 8,778.20 1630
48 Dartmouth Bristol 34,718 34,032 686 2.02% 60.92 569.89 1664
49 Randolph Norfolk 33,610 32,112 1,498 4.66% 9.83 3,419.13 1793
50 Lexington Middlesex 33,410 31,394 2,016 6.42% 16.43 2,033.48 1713
51 Franklin Norfolk 33,150 31,635 1,515 4.79% 26.63 1,244.84 1778
52 Andover Essex 32,461 33,201 -740 -2.23% 30.85 1,052.22 1646
53 Falmouth Barnstable 31,473 31,531 -58 -0.18% 44.07 714.16 1686
54 Dracut Middlesex 31,352 29,457 1,895 6.43% 20.63 1,519.73 1701
55 Tewksbury Middlesex 30,906 28,961 1,945 6.72% 20.7 1,493.04 1734
56 Needham Norfolk 30,755 28,886 1,869 6.47% 12.29 2,502.44 1711
57 North Andover Essex 30,628 28,352 2,276 8.03% 26.31 1,164.12 1855
58 Gloucester Essex 29,798 28,789 1,009 3.50% 26.2 1,137.33 1623
59 Wellesley Norfolk 29,215 27,982 1,233 4.41% 10.02 2,915.67 1881
60 Norwood Norfolk 29,097 28,602 495 1.73% 10.37 2,805.88 1872
61 North Attleborough Bristol 29,075 28,712 363 1.26% 18.87 1,540.81 1887
62 Agawam Hampden 28,718 28,438 280 0.98% 23.31 1,232.00 1855
63 Milford Worcester 28,646 27,999 647 2.31% 14.75 1,942.10 1780
64 West Springfield Hampden 28,529 28,391 138 0.49% 16.71 1,707.30 1774
65 Northampton Hampshire 28,483 28,549 -66 -0.23% 34.24 831.86 1656
66 Stoughton Norfolk 28,431 26,962 1,469 5.45% 16.09 1,767.00 1726
67 Saugus Essex 27,999 26,628 1,371 5.15% 10.79 2,594.90 1815
68 Melrose Middlesex 27,928 26,983 945 3.50% 4.68 5,967.52 1850
69 Danvers Essex 27,909 26,493 1,416 5.34% 13.28 2,101.58 1775
70 Bridgewater Plymouth 27,596 26,563 1,033 3.89% 27.32 1,010.10 1656
71 Milton Norfolk 27,351 27,003 348 1.29% 13.01 2,102.31 1662
72 Wakefield Middlesex 26,753 24,932 1,821 7.30% 7.36 3,634.92 1812
73 Burlington Middlesex 26,351 24,498 1,853 7.56% 11.73 2,246.46 1799
74 Belmont Middlesex 26,171 24,729 1,442 5.83% 4.65 5,628.17 1859
75 Reading Middlesex 25,834 24,747 1,087 4.39% 9.95 2,596.38 1644
76 Marshfield Plymouth 25,807 25,132 675 2.69% 28.62 901.71 1640
77 Dedham Norfolk 25,263 24,729 534 2.16% 10.25 2,464.68 1636
78 Walpole Norfolk 25,125 24,070 1,055 4.38% 20.44 1,229.21 1724
79 Middleborough Plymouth 24,782 23,116 1,666 7.21% 69.07 358.80 1669
80 Westford Middlesex 24,232 21,951 2,281 10.39% 30.27 800.53 1729
81 Easton Bristol 24,038 23,112 926 4.01% 28.75 836.10 1725
82 Mansfield Bristol 23,737 23,184 553 2.39% 20.09 1,181.53 1775
83 Acton Middlesex 23,633 21,924 1,709 7.80% 19.87 1,189.38 1735
84 Wilmington Middlesex 23,570 22,325 1,245 5.58% 16.98 1,388.10 1730
85 Yarmouth Barnstable 23,414 23,793 -379 -1.59% 24.15 969.52 1639
86 Canton Norfolk 23,252 21,561 1,691 7.84% 18.8 1,236.81 1797
87 Hingham Plymouth 23,202 22,157 1,045 4.72% 22.21 1,044.66 1635
88 Winchester Middlesex 22,808 21,374 1,434 6.71% 6.03 3,782.42 1850
89 Wareham Plymouth 22,601 21,822 779 3.57% 35.86 630.26 1739
90 Stoneham Middlesex 21,953 21,437 516 2.41% 6.02 3,646.68 1725
91 Ludlow Hampden 21,425 21,103 322 1.53% 27.2 787.68 1775
92 Marblehead Essex 20,493 19,808 685 3.46% 4.39 4,668.11 1629
93 Gardner Worcester 20,430 20,228 202 1.00% 22.08 925.27 1785
94 Sandwich Barnstable 20,391 20,675 -284 -1.37% 42.74 477.09 1638
95 Bourne Barnstable 19,837 19,754 83 0.42% 40.64 488.12 1884
96 Hudson Middlesex 19,826 19,063 763 4.00% 11.52 1,721.01 1866
97 Concord Middlesex 19,809 17,668 2,141 12.12% 24.52 807.87 1635
98 Norton Bristol 19,569 19,031 538 2.83% 27.81 703.67 1711
99 Westborough Worcester 18,946 18,272 674 3.69% 20.58 920.60 1717
100 Sudbury Middlesex 18,897 17,659 1,238 7.01% 24.27 778.62 1639
101 Holden Worcester 18,799 17,346 1,453 8.38% 35.08 535.89 1741
102 Grafton Worcester 18,607 17,765 842 4.74% 22.81 815.74 1735
103 Scituate Plymouth 18,598 18,133 465 2.56% 17.63 1,054.91 1636
104 Pembroke Plymouth 18,358 17,837 521 2.92% 21.78 842.88 1712
105 Sharon Norfolk 18,286 17,612 674 3.83% 23.44 780.12 1775
106 Somerset Bristol 18,223 18,165 58 0.32% 7.9 2,306.71 1790
107 Winthrop Suffolk 18,190 17,497 693 3.96% 1.97 9,233.50 1852
108 Newburyport Essex 17,987 17,416 571 3.28% 8.35 2,154.13 1764
109 Rockland Plymouth 17,861 17,489 372 2.13% 10.32 1,730.72 1874
110 South Hadley Hampshire 17,794 17,514 280 1.60% 17.71 1,004.74 1775
111 Ashland Middlesex 17,684 16,593 1,091 6.58% 12.33 1,434.23 1846
112 Foxborough Norfolk 17,519 16,865 654 3.88% 19.85 882.57 1778
113 Greenfield Franklin 17,456 17,456 0 0.00% 21.43 814.56 1775
114 Amesbury Essex 17,430 16,283 1,147 7.04% 12.26 1,421.70 1668
115 Bellingham Norfolk 17,012 16,332 680 4.16% 18.35 927.08 1719
116 Hopkinton Middlesex 16,978 14,925 2,053 13.76% 26.26 646.53 1715
117 Webster Worcester 16,857 16,767 90 0.54% 12.37 1,362.73 1832
118 Southbridge Worcester 16,831 16,719 112 0.67% 20.28 829.93 1816
119 Northbridge Worcester 16,556 15,707 849 5.41% 17.26 959.21 1775
120 Auburn Worcester 16,499 16,188 311 1.92% 15.48 1,065.83 1778
121 Swansea Bristol 16,482 15,865 617 3.89% 22.69 726.40 1667
122 Abington Plymouth 16,311 15,985 326 2.04% 9.65 1,690.26 1712
123 East Longmeadow Hampden 16,173 15,720 453 2.88% 13.01 1,243.12 1894
124 Fairhaven Bristol 16,134 15,873 261 1.64% 12.33 1,308.52 1812
125 Westwood Norfolk 16,079 14,618 1,461 9.99% 10.88 1,477.85 1897
126 Easthampton Hampshire 16,059 16,053 6 0.04% 13.33 1,204.73 1809
127 Duxbury Plymouth 15,926 15,059 867 5.76% 23.74 670.85 1637
128 Westport Bristol 15,854 15,532 322 2.07% 49.84 318.10 1787
129 Longmeadow Hampden 15,806 15,784 22 0.14% 9.12 1,733.11 1783
130 North Reading Middlesex 15,646 14,892 754 5.06% 13.14 1,190.72 1853
131 Seekonk Bristol 15,244 13,722 1,522 11.09% 18.37 829.83 1812
132 Belchertown Hampshire 15,033 14,649 384 2.62% 52.64 285.58 1761
133 Northborough Worcester 14,994 14,155 839 5.93% 18.48 811.36 1775
134 Whitman Plymouth 14,919 14,489 430 2.97% 6.94 2,149.71 1875
135 Swampscott Essex 14,827 13,787 1,040 7.54% 3.02 4,909.60 1852
136 Wilbraham Hampden 14,640 14,219 421 2.96% 22.16 660.65 1763
137 Holliston Middlesex 14,556 13,547 1,009 7.45% 18.64 780.90 1724
138 Hanover Plymouth 14,485 13,879 606 4.37% 15.61 927.93 1727
139 East Bridgewater Plymouth 14,452 13,794 658 4.77% 17.21 839.74 1823
140 Bedford Middlesex 14,411 13,320 1,091 8.19% 13.66 1,054.98 1729
141 Mashpee Barnstable 14,223 14,006 217 1.55% 23.39 608.08 1870
142 Dennis Barnstable 14,001 14,207 -206 -1.45% 20.51 682.64 1793
143 Raynham Bristol 13,942 13,383 559 4.18% 20.49 680.43 1731
144 Uxbridge Worcester 13,913 13,457 456 3.39% 29.59 470.19 1727
145 Oxford Worcester 13,911 13,709 202 1.47% 26.53 524.35 1713
146 Ipswich Essex 13,835 13,175 660 5.01% 32.11 430.86 1634
147 Wayland Middlesex 13,827 12,994 833 6.41% 15.05 918.74 1780
148 Clinton Worcester 13,799 13,606 193 1.42% 5.65 2,442.30 1850
149 Millbury Worcester 13,561 13,261 300 2.26% 15.71 863.21 1813
150 Charlton Worcester 13,483 12,981 502 3.87% 42.18 319.65 1755
151 Kingston Plymouth 13,462 12,629 833 6.60% 18.66 721.44 1726
152 Medway Norfolk 13,308 12,752 556 4.36% 11.54 1,153.21 1713
153 North Adams Berkshire 13,064 13,708 -644 -4.70% 20.34 642.28 1878
154 Medfield Norfolk 12,888 12,024 864 7.19% 14.4 895.00 1651
155 Lynnfield Essex 12,819 11,596 1,223 10.55% 9.88 1,297.47 1814
156 Tyngsborough Middlesex 12,318 11,292 1,026 9.09% 16.77 734.53 1809
157 Harwich Barnstable 12,153 12,243 -90 -0.74% 20.88 582.04 1694
158 Pepperell Middlesex 12,152 11,497 655 5.70% 22.6 537.70 1775
159 Weston Middlesex 12,111 11,261 850 7.55% 16.82 720.04 1713
160 Palmer Hampden 12,108 12,140 -32 -0.26% 31.58 383.41 1775
161 Rehoboth Bristol 12,068 11,608 460 3.96% 46.94 257.09 1645
162 Spencer Worcester 11,880 11,688 192 1.64% 32.83 361.86 1775
163 Dudley Worcester 11,747 11,390 357 3.13% 20.82 564.22 1732
164 Norfolk Norfolk 11,723 11,227 496 4.42% 14.9 786.78 1870
165 Wrentham Norfolk 11,715 10,955 760 6.94% 21.71 539.61 1673
166 Carver Plymouth 11,639 11,509 130 1.13% 37.4 311.20 1790
167 Athol Worcester 11,619 11,584 35 0.30% 32.29 359.83 1762
168 Lakeville Plymouth 11,380 10,602 778 7.34% 29.56 384.98 1853
169 Leicester Worcester 11,298 10,970 328 2.99% 23.25 485.94 1714
170 Groton Middlesex 11,297 10,646 651 6.11% 32.76 344.84 1655
171 Lunenburg Worcester 11,258 10,086 1,172 11.62% 26.48 425.15 1728
172 Norwell Plymouth 11,052 10,506 546 5.20% 20.93 528.05 1849
173 Holbrook Norfolk 11,022 10,791 231 2.14% 7.25 1,520.28 1872
174 Nantucket Nantucket 11,008 10,172 836 8.22% 44.97 244.79 1671
175 Hanson Plymouth 10,758 10,209 549 5.38% 15.05 714.82 1820
176 Winchendon Worcester 10,733 10,300 433 4.20% 43.02 249.49 1764
177 Maynard Middlesex 10,655 10,106 549 5.43% 5.21 2,045.11 1871
178 Hull Plymouth 10,510 10,293 217 2.11% 2.8 3,753.57 1644
179 Acushnet Bristol 10,505 10,303 202 1.96% 18.43 569.99 1860
180 Southborough Worcester 10,087 9,767 320 3.28% 14.02 719.47 1727
181 Littleton Middlesex 10,000 8,924 1,076 12.06% 16.52 605.33 1715

Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division
Release Date: May 2017.

Most Popular Mortgage Options in Massachusetts

The most popular mortgage in Massachusetts is the 30-year fixed mortgage, which allows homebuyers to lock in a favorable interest rate for their loans. The 15-year fixed mortgage is the next most popular mortgage, followed by the 5-1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), which features an initial five years with a fixed interest rate that is followed by an adjustable rate each year after that. Homes in the metro Boston area are typically far more expensive than the national average, so homebuyers shopping there might require a larger jumbo mortgage loan.

Fenway Park.

As of 2017 the conforming loan limit across the United States is set to $424,100, with a ceiling of 150% that amount in areas where median home values are higher. Jumbo loans typically have a slightly higher rate of interest than conforming mortgages, though spreads vary based on credit market conditions. Here are the conforming mortgage limits in different areas of the state.

County Metropolitan Designation 1 Unit Limit 2 Unit Limit 3 Unit Limit 4 Unit Limit
Bristol Providence-Warwick $426,650 $546,200 $660,200 $820,500
Dukes Vineyard Haven $636,150 $814,500 $984,525 $1,223,475
Essex Boston-Cambridge-Newton $598,000 $765,550 $925,350 $1,150,000
Middlesex Boston-Cambridge-Newton $598,000 $765,550 $925,350 $1,150,000
Nantucket Non-Metro $636,150 $814,500 $984,525 $1,223,475
Norfolk Boston-Cambridge-Newton $598,000 $765,550 $925,350 $1,150,000
Plymouth Boston-Cambridge-Newton $598,000 $765,550 $925,350 $1,150,000
Suffolk Boston-Cambridge-Newton $598,000 $765,550 $925,350 $1,150,000

Down Payments

There is no minimum down payment required in Massachusetts. The amount depends on the type of loan and on the bank or mortgage company you use. Veterans can obtain low-interest VA loans & the FHA also insures loans with low down payment requirements.

For those who do not qualify for VA or FHA loans, another way to augment a low down payment is to use a piggyback mortgage where the second mortgage is used as a down payment on the first mortgage to negate PMI requirements.

Most private banks give their best rates to borrowers with credit scores above 740, but loans with higher interest rates can be obtained with lower scores. Mortgage underwriters prefer debt-to-income ratios to be below 40%, but other factors are considered on the loan application.

USDA loans can help people with low incomes in rural parts of the state qualify for a subsidized low-interest loan.

Assistance Programs for Massachusetts Homebuyers

The state of Massachusetts has several programs in place to help first-time buyers purchase a home.

For example, the ONE Mortgage Program, a cooperative effort between public and private sectors, assists eligible low- to moderate-income first-time buyers by combining a standard first mortgage with a second mortgage that is publicly subsidized.

After the buyer puts 3 percent down, a conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgage can cover up to 77 percent of the purchase price with the publicly subsidized second mortgage covering the remainder. Interest only payments for the first 10 years can be part of the program for qualified buyers. Visit the One Mortgage site for more information.

A typical requirement for mortgage assistance programs for first-time buyers is that they complete a state-sponsored home buyer's course. Visit here for options.

Active members of the Armed Forces can benefit from the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which sets a limit of 6 percent on the amount of interest owed on a home loan. Other assistance programs are available for veterans.

Operation Welcome Home loans are available through participating lenders to active duty service members, honorably discharged veterans and Gold Star Family members.

Qualified borrowers can receive up to 100 percent financing on the purchase of single-family homes or condominiums and may qualify for low down payment options for two- and three-family homes. Visit Operation Welcome Home for application details.

Closing Costs

For a $200,000 home purchase with a 20 percent down payment in 2017 in Massachusetts, the average lender fees are $905 and the average third party fees are $851, for a total of $1,756 in closing costs. Those fees are somewhat below the national average of $1,847 in 2017 and well below neighbor state Connecticut's closing costs of $2,033.

Homebuyers in Massachusetts can expect to pay about $935 for origination fees, $418 for an appraisal, $804 for legal costs, $255 for a survey, $125 for inspections, $21 for a credit report and $10 for flood certification. Title insurance fees are calculated individually for each property. Not all lenders charge for all these costs, and property taxes, homeowners' insurance and interest are not included in these totals.

Unfortunately, outside of mortgage points most typical closing costs are not tax deductible.

State Specific Real Estate Laws

Worcester, Massachusetts Skyline.

Caveat Emptor

Unlike many states that have specific home disclosure rules and regulations, Massachusetts is a caveat emptor (Latin for “let the buyer beware”) state. That means that with few exceptions, such as the required disclosure of lead paint, sellers do not legally have to report defects in the home or its systems to the buyer.

Rather it is up to the buyer to be sure everything is in good repair. Court cases have demonstrated that owners must answer buyers' questions truthfully, however.

Most buyers use the services of a licensed home inspector, and there is a contingency in the purchase and sale agreement in Massachusetts that allows the buyer the right to opt out of the purchase if there are serious problems with the condition of the property.

Massachusetts law also requires that a seller engage a lawyer for the transaction.

Taxes in Massachusetts

Massachusetts property taxes rank as the seventh highest in the nation. The average annual property tax payment is $3,794.

The effective average rate across teh state for home owners is 1.21%. In the Boston metro area property taxes cost an average of $6,624 in 2016.

Real estate property taxes are main revenue producers for towns in Massachusetts that have a limited commercial tax base. The tax rate is set by each local board of assessors according to the value of each property, which is often less than its market value.

There are some ways to qualify for property tax exemptions. The state of Massachusetts has some options for homebuyers listed here.

Massachusetts home sellers also must pay a tax – sometimes called a deed stamp, a transfer tax or an excise tax – upon the sale of their property. The state does not require an inheritance tax.

Flood Insurance

Homeowner's insurance policies typically do not cover flooding.

Home buyers with mortgages in high-risk areas are required to buy flood insurance. Most flood insurance policies are sold by the United States federal government through The National Flood Insurance Program. Under-priced flood insurance in high-risk areas act as a subsidy to wealthy homeowners.

The NFIP does not charge nearly enough to cover the expected costs of its liabilities. The assessments are not sufficient to build any buffer to cover an extraordinary year, such as what occurred with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 or Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Because homeowners don€™t incur the full cost of building in a flood zone we end up with more houses there than if homeowners incurred the full cost of the flood risk, which exacerbates the government€™s costs in the next disaster.

Typically, homes built after 2002, when building code regulations tightened, are subject to lower insurance rates than older homes. On the other hand, homes without hurricane straps, with roofs that do not meet current standards for wind, with older plumbing or with outdated electrical systems may be difficult €“ or very expensive €“ to insure.

Homeowners who live in lower risk areas & are not required to purchase flood insurance heavily cross-subsidize homeowners who are in areas where floods are more common.

Hail

Hail damage is not uncommon across the state. Damage from hail is typically covered by home insurance policies.

Foreclosures

Foreclosures in Massachusetts typically are nonjudicial, meaning they take place outside the courtroom.

As the foreclosing party, the lender must give two foreclosure notices to the borrower: a notice of default and right to cure, and a notice of sale. The notice of default is issued 30 days after the fourth missed monthly loan payment. From that point, the borrower gets 90 days to cure the default of the loan.

It typically takes 75 to 90 days to complete a non-judicial foreclosure in Massachusetts. The process may be interrupted or delayed, however, if the borrower formally contests the process in court or files for bankruptcy.

Learn More

Lowell, Massachusetts Gates and Locks.

Here are some further resources to help you navigate the home buying process in Massachusetts.