With reduced sales and mortgage activity, the Norfolk County real estate market faced challenges in August of 2017.
Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell noted, “There are challenges taking place within the Norfolk County real estate market. The total number of real estate sales, both residential and commercial, for the month of August was 1,851, a 5% reduction from August of 2016. The average sales price for the month was $684,661, a 22% drop-off from the previous year.
“In addition, the total volume of real estate activity, for residential and commercial, was $872,258,838, a 26% decrease from the same time period in 2016. This percentage decrease, however, can be attributable in part to one transaction: the $205 million sale of Westwood Station that took place in August 2016.”
Lending activity also showed reduced volume during August. Register O’Donnell noted, “The total number of mortgages recorded during the month was 2,631 compared to 3,511 recorded in August 2016. The total volume of mortgage financing for the month was $1.1 billion, a 31% reduction year over year. Clearly, consumers are being very cautious when it comes to incurring debt.”
One piece of optimistic news for the month was the reduced number of foreclosure deed filings. A total of 20 foreclosure deeds were recorded in August compared to 32 recordings in August 2016, a reduction of 38%. In addition, there was a significant reduction in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings, the first step in the foreclosure process as 32 Notice to Foreclose Mortgage documents were recorded compared to 96 the previous August, amounting to a 66% decrease.
O’Donnell noted, “While one foreclosure deed filing is one too many, I am encouraged that the trend lines continue to point in the right direction. I want to remind those who are struggling with paying their mortgage payment that the Registry continues to have a partnership with Quincy Community Action Programs at (617) 479-8181 x-376 and Neighbor Works Southern Mass at (508) 598-0950. These agencies can help anyone who has received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage. Another option for those struggling with their mortgage payment is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at (617) 727-8400.”
On another consumer front, Homestead recordings showed a small decrease from the previous year. A total of 1,326 Homesteads were filed in August 2017, resulting in a 3% decrease compared to the same period last year. “A Homestead is an important consumer benefit which provides limited protection against the forced sale of your primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500, 000,” noted the Register.
In conclusion, Register O’Donnell stated, “While I was disappointed with Norfolk County real estate numbers for August, I believe the numbers are explainable. Low levels of inventory continue to hamper real estate sales and mortgage activity financing is dampened by the slight increases in mortgage rates.”
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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.