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'Buy Springfield Now' to host program at Hall of Fame Nov. 9

Date: 11/2/2009

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- There was good news on the housing front, specifically in the "City of Homes," as well as throughout the Pioneer Valley last week.

The "Buy Springfield Now" program is working to bring new homeowners to the city. Real estate, housing and banking officials joined Mayor Domenic Sarno Tuesday morning in announcing that the collaborative program has attracted 50 new homebuyers to the city since the start of the program earlier this year.

The group hopes to interest more prospective buyers in the city with a special program at the Basketball Hall of Fame on Nov. 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. At that program people interested in buying a home in the city can talk to realtors, participating lenders and retail vendors offering discounts to new buyers all in one place and at one time.

The program was launched earlier this year and is intended not just for first-time homeowners -- although there are educational components for them -- but anyone considering a move to the city. There are five major employers in Springfield that offer incentives to their employees to move into the city.

Sarno said that realtors provide "the first impression of a city."

Rocco Leone, the business development officer for the region for MassHousing, explained the local coalition was patterned after ones started in Brockton and then Worcester. He added the "Buy Springfield Now" program has reached the 50-home landmark in less time than Worcester.

The Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley Inc. released encouraging sales figures at the announcement. For the month of September home sales were up 7.9 percent, although the median price dropped 4.8 percent throughout the valley. In the third quarter of 2009, the sales were up 10.1 percent with the median price down six percent.

The greatest sales growth for September was in Franklin County, at 23.9 percent. Hampshire County increased 3.8 percent, while Hampden County grew 6.1 percent.