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A lifeline for frustrated buyers

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis December 30, 2013 09:49 AM

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Everyone from wealthy foreigners to small-time contractors and brokers-turned-home-flippers are snapping up homes right and left in all-cash deals.

But in a tough market, especially for first-time buyers, there is a glimmer of hope. The two federally backed giants of the mortgage market are stepping in to provide a boost to average home buyers who can't compete with deep-pocketed investors,syndicated real estate columnist Kenneth Harney reports.

Home buyers who commit to moving in and staying put for at least a year are being given a 20-day exclusivity period to bid on new listings of foreclosed homes being sold by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Harney writes.

Interested? Check out the Massachusetts homes for sale on Fannie's HomePath and Freddie's HomeSteps sites. You can sort by county and go from there.

Compared to other parts of the country, the number of listings is somewhat limited. After all, while things got bad in Greater Boston, it was never Florida or Las Vegas-style bad here.

Freddie only has 11 homes listed for Middlesex County, with only a simple exterior shot.

There's a cape listed for $249,000 in Billerica and a two-bedroom, 1.5 bath townhouse in Dracut, among others.

Fannie has a few more listings - I found 69 for Middlesex though several were already under contract. They generally are somewhat pricier, rising into the $300,000s for suburban capes and small colonials. Each listing has six photos, a modest improvement over the Freddie site.

There's a pretty decent looking four bedroom, two-bath in Westford listed for $312,000 on the HomePath site.

There are naturally more listings for Suffolk County, basically Boston and couple tags ons, including a three-bed, 1 bath in Roslindale listed at $369,900.

Buyers can potentially tap into HomePath mortgage financing with a pretty minimal down payment of 5 percent or less.

Safe to say, these are all fixer-uppers. But if you are an average first-time buyer living on a middle-class income in the Boston area, it's either that, a condo, or a settling for a very long commute from the hinterlands of Worcester County.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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