Dedham, MA – Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reports that Norfolk County recordings in January 2024 show a slight increase in the total number of documents recorded, which also includes an increase in property sales compared to January 2023 recordings. This slight increase in property sales may indicate that some buyers have an optimistic outlook on mortgage interest rates.
The Registry of Deeds recorded 7,529 documents in January 2024. This was 1% more than in January 2023 and a 6% decrease compared to December 2023.
“It is too early to draw any definitive conclusions, but it is good to see a positive start to 2024, and it is worth noting that the real estate market in Norfolk County seems to be holding steady. These trends will need to be monitored in the coming months to determine if they are a sign of a larger trend or simply a temporary fluctuation,” stated Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell.
The total number of deeds recorded for January 2024, which reflects both commercial and residential real estate sales and transfers, was 1,125, up 9% from January 2023 and down 9% from December of last month.
“Despite some difficult market conditions, the total number of deeds recorded in January 2024 showed a slight increase compared to the previous year,” noted Register O’Donnell. “This year-over-year increase may suggest that the prospects of lower mortgage interest rates are bringing buyers to the table early.”
The average sale price of commercial and residential properties for January 2024 rose to $1,013,999, a 19% increase compared to January 2023 and an increase of 16% from December 2023. The total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales is up, increasing 21% from last year but down 12% 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. Unfortunately, when prices rise without a corresponding rise in inventory, it may result in increased competition among buyers. This makes it harder for homebuyers in general, but especially for first-time homebuyers.”
For the month of January, lending activity overall showed the smallest decline in months, with a total of 957 mortgages recorded, down only 4% from January of last year and 15% less than 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,” stated O’Donnell.
The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds continues to closely monitor the foreclosure market. In January 2024, there were 11 foreclosure deeds recorded as a result of mortgage foreclosures taking place in Norfolk County, whereas in January 2023, there were 9 recorded. The total number of notices to foreclose, the first step in the foreclosure process, increased from last year, going from 30 notices in January 2023 to 36 in January 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, “It is good to see that January 2024 has started out on a positive trajectory for the real estate market in Norfolk County. We will need to wait and see if this trend continues in the coming months, but it is certainly a promising start.”