Dedham - Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that the September 2022 numbers relative to Norfolk County recordings indicate a continuing decrease in overall real estate activity, particularly mortgage activity, as compared to the September 2021 numbers.
“Our data indicates that the Norfolk County real estate numbers in September demonstrate a continued slowdown in the market compared to 2021 and for the first time it appears that the average sales price is leveling off,” noted Register O’Donnell. “There were 9,972 documents recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds in September, a 35% decrease from September 2021 and a decrease of 14% from August, 2022”.
“The number of deeds for September 2022, which reflect real estate sales and transfers, both commercial and residential, show a decrease of 23% from September, 2021 and a decrease of 16% from the previous month of August, 2022. Sale prices for September appear to have leveled off when compared to September 2021. The average sale price in September was $1,082,714, a decrease of 1% compared to September 2021. Total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales is down, decreasing 24% from one year ago and decreasing 16% from last month,” noted the Register.
Overall lending activity show a continued trend downward for the month of September. A total of 1,693 mortgages were recorded during the month, a significant decrease of 55% compared to a year ago and down 15% from August, 2022. “It appears that the sharp increase in the mortgage interest rates has significantly impacted mortgage activity,” 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 September, there were 6 foreclosure deeds recorded as a result of mortgage foreclosures taking place in Norfolk County, one less than in September, 2021. However, there were 37 Notices to Foreclose, the first step in the foreclosure process, recorded in September, up significantly from the 10 recorded in September 2021. “The dramatic increase in the number of these notices is alarming. It indicates that more of our neighbors are facing financial challenges going forward”, said O’Donnell. “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. Register O’Donnell stated, “If you are having difficulty paying your monthly mortgage, please consider contacting one of these non-profit agencies for help and guidance.”
Homestead recordings by owners of homes and condominiums decreased again this month at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds. There was a 21% decrease in homestead recordings in September 2022 compared to September 2021. “The reduction in recorded Declarations of Homestead is not too surprising where the sales of homes continue to level off, but all homeowners, not just new purchasers, should keep in mind that a recorded Declaration of Homestead provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000,” noted O’Donnell. “We want to see folks protecting the biggest asset most of us have, our homes. I would urge anyone who has not availed themselves of this important consumer protection tool to consider doing so. The recording fee is only $36. Feel free to visit the Registry website at www.norfolkdeeds.org to get more information on homesteads and to make sure you have taken advantage of this protection.”
Register O’Donnell concluded, “September real estate activity in Norfolk County continues to show a decline from last year. In comparing the numbers with last year, it appears the market may be starting to cool off.”