Dedham - Norfolk County Register of Deeds, William P. O’Donnell, reported that Norfolk County recordings for the month of November 2022 indicate a significant decrease in overall real estate activity, particularly mortgage activity and the average sales price for residential and commercial property, as compared to the November 2021 numbers.
In November, there were 9,015 documents recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, a 37% decrease from November 2021 and virtually no change from October 2022.
"The real estate market is showing the strains of continuingly rising interest rates and inflation, which is putting a damper on the amount of money consumers can save," said O’Donnell. "Total document volume is down significantly compared to November 2021 but shows a lesser decrease when compared to last month’s statistics in October 2022. One of the components of document volume, the number of deeds recorded, indicates a decrease in property sales from last year."
The number of deeds for November 2022, which reflect real estate sales and transfers, both commercial and residential, show a decrease of 27% from November 2021 and a decrease of 7% from the previous month of October 2022.
Sale prices for November appear to have dropped significantly compared to November 2021. The average sale price in November was $ 973,133, a 17% decrease from November 2021 and a 9% decrease from October 2022. The total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales is down, decreasing 42% from one year ago and decreasing 18% from last month.
"Consumers seem to be less willing to borrow with interest rates approaching and exceeding 7%, and the drop in average sales prices indicates sellers are adjusting prices to compensate," noted O’Donnell. "According to the numbers we are seeing at the Registry, we are recording well under half the number of mortgages compared to November 2021."
Overall lending activity showed a continued downward trend for the month of November. A total of 1,357 mortgages were recorded this month, 58% less than a year ago at the same time and down 8% from last month.
"The rising cost of living and increasing interest rates that the country is facing now are having an impact on the local real estate market," noted O’Donnell. "A continuing cause for concern in Norfolk County is the number of pending foreclosures."
The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has been closely monitoring the foreclosure market. In November, there were 4 foreclosure deeds recorded as a result of mortgage foreclosures taking place in Norfolk County, equal to the number in November 2021. However, in November, there were 30 notices to foreclose, the first step in the foreclosure process, significantly more than the 13 recorded in November 2021.
"While the number of notices to foreclose have come down slightly from last month, they are still significantly higher than in November 2021," said O’Donnell. "This indicates that more of our neighbors are facing financial challenges going forward. O’Donnell continued, "We will continue to track these numbers."
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 (508-587-0950) 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.
"If you are having difficulty paying your monthly mortgage, please consider contacting one of these non-profit agencies for help and guidance," said Register O’Donnell.
Register O’Donnell concluded, "Property sales prices appear to be dropping as a result of consumers not willing to purchase property with mortgage rates above 7%."