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WOBURN, Mass. – Massachusetts, like the rest of the country, has been enjoying an increase in the number of mortgages financed thanks to record low interest rates. Recently released data from a leading provider of mortgage services to credit unions in New England shows CUs have transacted a record growth in home-financing loans in the state over the past 10 years. According to information obtained by Members Mortgage, the number of CU-financed mortgages nearly doubled since 1992. Year-to-date data issued by the county records office shows that Massachusetts CUs issued 9,811 mortgage loans in 2002, up from 5,434 in 1992 – an 81% increase. In addition, the dollar volume of the loans increase 131%, from $445.5 million in 1992 to more tan $1 billion in 2002. Joe Zampitella, president/CEO, Members Mortgage said property values have increased “and are still going up,” especially in the suburbs around Boston. The average price of a single family home in these areas is about $200,000. Even in areas long known for having affordable single-family home housing such as Chelsea, Lynn, Brockton and Lowell, Zampitella said “you’re still looking at $200,000 homes.” In the very affluent areas such as Dover, Lexington and Weston, prices of homes can run in excess of $1 million. “The big issue in Massachusetts isn’t being qualified for a home loan, but in finding a home. There’s not enough inventory. People are selling homes before they’re listing them,” said Zampitella. Zampitella said one of the forces driving consumers to credit unions for mortgages has been the mergers of the big traditional banks in the area. “Credit unions are cutting in to the community banks’ business. Consumers who have been forced to deal with the Fleet banks of the world are now turning to their credit union for mortgages and other services.” “Credit unions in many areas of New England are considered by many consumers to be their new community banks,” said Zampitella. “Consumes are looking for quality service, and they know they can count on finding that at their credit union.” -

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