Available Property Inventory Tries to Catch Up

Dedham, MA – Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reports that Norfolk County recordings in March 2024 show a decrease in the total number of documents recorded, which includes a decrease in property sales and mortgage recordings compared to March 2023. This decrease can be attributed to a variety of factors, including high competition, high property prices, and a limited inventory of available property.

The Registry of Deeds recorded 7,664 documents in March 2024. This was 10% less than in March 2023, but a 13% increase compared to February 2024.

“The number of deed recordings and mortgage recordings are significant contributors to overall real estate activity, and whenever either or both of these numbers decline, there will be a substantial decrease in the total number of recordings,” stated Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell.

For the month of March, lending activity also showed a decrease compared to the same month a year ago. A total of 1087 mortgages were recorded in March 2024, down 15% from March 2023 but up 19% from last month.

“The decreasing trend in mortgage recordings has significantly slowed, but total recordings are still lower than last year, likely because those who locked in lower mortgage interest rates in 2020 and 2021 are less likely to refinance at current rates and some may be holding out for lower mortgage interest rates, predicted for later this year.” stated O’Donnell.

The average sale price of commercial and residential properties for March 2024 rose to $1,043,639, an 18% increase compared to March 2023 and an increase of 5% from February 2024. The total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales is up, increasing 8% from last year and up 36% from last month.

O’Donnell noted, “With a limited supply of available properties on the market, any increase in demand is likely to cause an increase in the average property sales price even with the increase in listing moving into the home buying season.”

According to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, since the start of 2024, new listings have increased each month compared to the previous month.

The total number of deeds recorded for March 2024, which reflects both commercial and residential real estate sales and transfers, was 1,176, down 6% from March 2023, but up 22% from February of last month.

“I think many would agree that it is a difficult market for buyers, especially first-time home buyers, due to the limited inventory of available property and an increase in property prices compared to previous years,” said Register O’Donnell. “As we move into the traditional home buying season, there are some signs of improvement in regards to the number of property listings, which may help alleviate some of the pressure on buyers. However, the overall trend of a lack of inventory and increasing prices is still a concern.”

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds continues to closely monitor the foreclosure market. In March 2024, there were 12 foreclosure deeds recorded as a result of mortgage foreclosures taking place in Norfolk County, whereas in March 2023, there were 4 recorded. The total number of notices to foreclose, the first step in the foreclosure process, decreased from last year, going from 30 notices in March 2023 to 28 in March 2024.

“We all experience unforeseen events in our lives. Sometimes these events are beyond our control and can have a devastating impact on our finances. I would urge anyone struggling to pay their mortgage or who knows someone who is struggling to contact one of the non-profit organizations listed on our website, www.norfolkdeeds.org,” said O’Donnell.

For the past several years, the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has partnered with Quincy Community Action Programs (617-479-8181 x376) and NeighborWorks Housing Solutions (617-770-2227) to help anyone facing challenges paying their mortgage. Another option for homeowners is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at 617-727-8400.

O’Donnell concluded, “Overall, the real estate market still has a few hurdles to overcome and continues to be highly competitive due to the high demand to live and work in Norfolk County communities and the inventory of available property. We will need to wait and see if the increase in property listings is enough to overcome the demands for housing here in the communities of Norfolk County.”

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds will be closed on Thursday, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. We are open Friday, July 5th.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is closed Today, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. We are open Friday, July 5th.