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Affordable home loans from Mass. exceed $1 billion

MassHousing, the state’s affordable housing bank, provided more than $1 billion in home loans in 2012 — a record amount and another sign the housing market is recovering, officials said Thursday.

Last year, 4,710 Massachusetts residents with low or moderate incomes got help buying or refinancing property through the agency, said Thomas R. Gleason, MassHousing’s executive director.

The nearly $1.1 billion total was 52 percent higher than the agency’s previous record for home mortgage lending, set in 2009, the state said.

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A key to the popularity of the program is a year-old product that allows homeowners with down payments as small as 3 percent to get a loan without paying for mortgage insurance, officials­ said. Mortgage insurance can costs hundreds of dollars a month.

“We believe there is real strength in the Massachusetts housing market and this type of loan production shows there is significant demand for mortgage financing by consumers who have been waiting for the market to improve and who may have felt hamstrung by overly restrictive lending practices by conventional lenders,” Gleason said.

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