Dedham - Norfolk County Register of Deeds, William P. O’Donnell, reported that Norfolk County recordings for the month of October 2022 indicate a significant decrease in overall real estate activity, particularly mortgage activity, as compared to the October 2021 numbers.
There were 9,052 documents recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds in October, a 37% decrease from October 2021 and a decrease of 9% from September 2022.
“The rise in interest rates has had an impact on many aspects of the real estate market,” said O’Donnell. “Total document volume is down significantly compared to October 2022. One of the components of document volume, the number of deeds recorded, indicates a decrease in property sales.”
The number of deeds for October 2022, which reflect real estate sales and transfers, both commercial and residential, show a decrease of 17% from October 2021 and a decrease of 7% from the previous month of September 2022. Sale prices for October appear to have leveled off when compared to October 2021. The average sale price in October was $1,064,073, an increase of 5% compared to October 2021 and down 2% from September 2022. The total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales is down, decreasing 17% from one year ago and decreasing 12% from last month.
“Consumers seem to be less willing to borrow with interest rates above 7%,” noted O’Donnell. “According to the numbers we are seeing at the Registry, mortgages are down more than 50% compared to October 2021.” O’Donnell continued, “The rising mortgage interest rates also have an impact on buyers looking to purchase real estate.”
Overall lending activity showed a continued downward trend for the month of October. A total of 1,482 mortgages were recorded this month, 55% less than a year ago at the same time and down 12% 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 October, there were 4 foreclosure deeds recorded as a result of mortgage foreclosures taking place in Norfolk County, one less than in October 2021. However, in October, there were 25 notices to foreclose, the first step in the foreclosure process, down slightly from the 37 recorded in October 2021.
“While the number of notices to foreclose have come down slightly from last month, they are still significantly higher than in October 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, "The rise in interest rates, at levels not seen in decades, has decreased the number of people willing to purchase property, which may be leading to an increasing drop in the average property sales price."