Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



This is the sixteenth in the annual series of Changing Patterns reports prepared for the Massachusetts Community & Banking Council (MCBC) by the present author. The series is aptly named: mortgage lending since 1990 has indeed been characterized by “changing patterns.” In recent years, the major focus of the series shifted from concern for fair access to credit for traditionally underserved borrowers and neighborhoods to concern for access to fair credit for these same borrowers and neighborhoods. This reflects the extent to which the problem of redlining had become overshadowed by the problem of reverse redlining, whereby areas that previously had difficulty getting any mortgage loans at all became specifically targeted for higher-cost mortgage loans.

This year’s report offers information on patterns of mortgage lending during 2008, a year when there was very little subprime lending. While the limited subprime lending that remains continues to show substantial racial and ethnic disparities, this most recently changed pattern shifts attention back toward the original problem of fair access to good loans for traditionally underserved borrowers and neighborhoods.

The report presents information for the city of Boston, for Greater Boston, and for Massachusetts, as well as for each of the state’s fourteen counties and each of its thirty-three largest cities and towns. The primary data source is federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data for 2008, supplemented by data on population and income from the U.S. Census Bureau and annual data on metropolitan area income levels from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The report is restricted to first-lien loans for owner-occupied homes. It gives particular attention to higher-cost loans, identified in HMDA data as having annual percentage rates (APRs) at least three percentage points higher than the current interest rate on long-term U.S. Treasury bonds; these loans are referred to in this report as high-APR loans, or HALs.


This report is the sixteenth in an annual series of studies that was initiated by Changing Patterns: Mortgage Lending in Boston, 1990–1993. The report includes information on lending in Boston, Greater Boston, and Massachusetts, as well as in the state’s fourteen counties and in its thirty-three largest cities and towns. In addition, a set of on-line tables provides selected data for every Massachusetts municipality.

Prepared by the Gaston Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston for the Massachusetts Community and Banking Council (MCBC).



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