MassHousing, a quasi-public Massachusetts agency that makes and insures affordable home mortgage loans, has announced the launching of MI Plus, a no-cost program that makes principal and interest payments on a mortgage for up to six months in case of unemployment.MassHousing noted that borrowers who put less than 20% down on a home are required to pay mortgage insurance, which protects the lender in the event of foreclosure, but provides no tangible benefit for the borrower. "We believe this will change the way consumers see mortgage insurance, and provide an additional incentive for first-time buyers to make the leap to homeownership," said MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason. MassHousing is the first housing finance agency in the country to offer such a product, and only two private mortgage insurers offer similar products, the agency said. If a borrower is eligible, MI Plus will cover the principal and interest payments, up to a maximum of $2,000, for up to six months during the first 10 years of the mortgage. MassHousing will make the payments directly to the loan servicer. The agency can be found online at http://www.masshousing.com.

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