Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that 2nd quarter (April-June 2019 ) real estate statistics showed a slight decrease in residential and commercial sales, while mortgage lending numbers experienced a small uptick and foreclosures were way down.
Register O’Donnell noted, “The 2nd quarter figures showed an overall 1% reduction in the number of properties sold countywide from 4,971 to 4,918 for the same quarter of 2018. The flat real estate sales tell us there are still challenges when it comes to real estate inventory. It has been an ongoing issue and one that certainly needs to be watched closely.”
Register O’Donnell further stated, “The recently concluded 2nd quarter also saw the average Norfolk County real estate sales price, for both residential and commercial properties, decrease 11% to $776,889. Total dollar real estate volume, again for both residential and commercial, was $2.4 billion, a 16% decline year over year. These figures were impacted by the $177 million sale of Steward Norwood Hospital that took place on 6/28/18.”
For the 2nd quarter 2019, the number of land documents recorded, (such as deeds, mortgages, Homesteads, mortgage discharges, etc.) was 37,019, a slight 1% drop-off from the previous year. Register O’Donnell noted, “This relatively flat figure tells us we have a ways to go before we see robust growth in the real estate market.”
One good piece of positive news was the 7,108 mortgages recorded at the Registry in the 2nd quarter compared to 6,826 for the same time period in 2018. Additionally, total mortgage borrowing was $3.8 billion for the second quarter compared to $4 billion during the 2nd quarter 2018. “With the reduction in interest rates, consumers seem to be more comfortable when it comes to borrowing money,” stated the Register.
Norfolk County homeowners continued to benefit from the Homestead Act. A total of 3,396 Homesteads were recorded during the 2nd quarter, a 1% increase year over year. “The Homestead law provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. I urge Norfolk County residents to consider this important consumer protection tool,” noted O’Donnell.
Foreclosure activity in Norfolk County continued to show signs of improvement. A total of 27 foreclosure deeds were recorded versus 48 filed during the 2nd quarter of 2018. In addition, there was a significant 38% drop in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process.
O’Donnell stated, “One foreclosure is one too many, and while the eastern Massachusetts economy remains on a solid footing, there are still those in Norfolk County experiencing economic hardships. The Registry continues to work with Quincy Community Action Programs, (617-479-8181 x376), and NeighborWorks Housing Solutions, (508-587-0950) to help homeowners who have received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage document. A third option is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at 617-727-8400.”
Register O’Donnell concluded, “While real estate sales were mostly flat during the recently concluded quarter, a cause for optimism was the uptick in lending numbers. A continuing strong economy in eastern Massachusetts, and the possibility of further interest rate cuts as signaled by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to congressional committees, should bode well for the overall real estate market going forward.”
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The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street in Dedham. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. All land record research information can be found on the Registry’s website www.norfolkdeeds.org. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.