Panelists and attendees represented a variety of professions and interests related to the Massachusetts housing market, but all seemed to agree on the vital role housing plays in the greater economic recovery, and the need for increasing consumer confidence and broad partnerships to improve housing.
'The Future of Home Ownership in Massachusetts,' a housing symposium hosted by MassHousing and the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS October 17 in Worcester, brought together Realtors, lenders, government officials and nonprofit housing advocates for a discussion on how best to move forward the Commonwealth's stalled housing market. Through panel discussions and an ongoing dialogue, a number of ideas and strategies came to light.
From left, Paul Pouliot from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston and Patrick Lawler from the Federal Housing Finance Agency participate in a panel titled "The Future of Home Ownership Financing" moderated by MassHousing's Tom Gleason.
"If you don't fix housing, you don't fix the economy," said Barry Bluestone, Director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University.
Mayor Joseph O'Brien of Worcester cited the role partnerships with area employers have played to incentivize homeownership in his city, a theme echoed by New Bedford mayor Scott Lang. Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki further reinforced this point in a later panel, saying "We want to be partners with the private sector."
The economy and housing are first and foremost on our minds," said Lt. Gov. Tim Murray during the event's keynote address, "and we want to work with you."
Despite the instability and uncertainty in the housing market, most agreed that homeownership remains key, and that people still want to own homes. "There is an incredible appetite for homeownership," said Eric Belsky of Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. "And people are looking for a reason to get back out there."
What's ahead for the housing and homeownership markets remains to be seen, but the symposium showed the broad range of individuals and organizations committed to making it better, and to a dialogue that will almost certainly help to do so. If you'd like to be part of that conversation as we move forward, contact our Home Ownership Business Development group.