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Patrick sets goal to aid low-income home buyers

Governor Patrick’s plan includes loan programs in existence as well as new offerings.

Globe Staff/File

Governor Patrick’s plan includes loan programs in existence as well as new offerings.

Governor Deval Patrick unveiled a plan Monday to push lenders to provide 10,000 mortgages over the next five years for first-time home buyers who have modest incomes.

Patrick said the goal is to help potential buyers with earnings below median income levels to qualify for loans through MassHousing — the state’s affordable housing bank — and the public nonprofit, Massachusetts Housing Partnership.

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“By giving more young people and families the opportunity to own a home, we retain our talent pool and create sustainable long term economic growth,” Patrick said in a statement.

The median income for a family of four varies significantly by county. For example, in Suffolk and parts of Middlesex counties, it’s about $94,400, according to the Boston-based Massachusetts Housing Partnership. In Barnstable, it’s $74,900, and the median in some Franklin County communities is $64,400.

The governor’s plan includes loan programs in existence as well as new offerings. The Massachusetts Housing Partnership is overhauling its decades-old first-time home buyer program as part of the new initiative.

Aaron Gornstein, undersecretary for the state Department of Housing and Community Development, said Patrick wants to motivate lenders to assist lower-income borrowers as the signature affordable loan program changes.

“The governor wants to recommit to the first-time home buyer programs,’’ Gornstein said.

He said the goal of 10,000 home mortgages over five years, or 2,000 a year, would exceed the number lenders currently write for lower-income borrowers on an annual basis — about 20 percent more for the Massachusetts Housing Partnership alone.

Six local lenders have joined a state “compact” to meet the goal by 2018. Ruston F. Lodi, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, said the agency is working to sign up more lenders for the program. About 25 were involved with the agency’s SoftSecond program, which is being phased out.

The state will also launch a website to provide more information on the loan programs.

Tom Callahan, executive director of the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, said he is excited about the initiative and the governor’s effort to make home ownership more feasible for people with modest incomes.

“We are very pleased with the changes,’’ he said. “The governor is calling on lenders to step up.”

Jenifer B. McKim can be reached at jmckim@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @jbmckim.
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