Dedham -Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that first quarter (January-March 2022) real estate stats showed an uptick in residential and commercial sales and sale prices, while overall numbers indicate a downturn.
Register O’Donnell noted, “During the recently concluded first quarter of the 2022 calendar year, the average Norfolk County real estate sales price, both residential and commercial, increased 38% to $1,261,0181. Total real estate volume, again both residential and commercial, was $2.56 billion, a 53% increase year over the same period in 2021.”
Register O’Donnell further stated, “The lack of inventory and new construction have continue to push prices up. It remains to be seen if this trend continues as overall activity is starting to slow.”
For the first quarter of 2022, the number of land documents recorded, (such as deeds, mortgages, homesteads, mortgage discharges, etc.) was 34,315, a 33% decline from the first quarter of 2021. Register O’Donnell noted, “This figure tells us there is still a healthy real estate market, however we are not seeing the volume we saw in 2020 and 2021.”
There were 6,664 mortgages recorded at the Registry during the first quarter of the calendar year 2022 compared to 14,001 for the same time period in 2021, a 52% decrease. However, total mortgage borrowing was $7.5 billion for January through March compared to $5.7 billion during the same period in 2021. “With the increase in interest rates, consumers seem to be less inclined to borrow. The discrepancy between the decrease in the number of mortgages and the increase in the amount of mortgage indebtedness is due in part to some substantial mortgage loans on a few commercial properties”, stated the Register.
Norfolk County homeowners continued to benefit from the Homestead Act. A total of 2,378 declarations of homestead were recorded during the first half of the calendar year, a 12% decrease over the same period a year ago. “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.
A sharp increase in foreclosure activity in Norfolk County is a cause for concern. A total of 20 foreclosure deeds were recorded in the first quarter versus only 6 filed during the first quarter of 2021. In addition, there was a significant 81% increase in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process.
O’Donnell stated, “While the eastern Massachusetts economy remains on a solid footing, there are still those in Norfolk County experiencing economic hardship, in many cases through no fault of their own. 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, “The economy, particularly the job market in eastern Massachusetts, appears to be improving but inflation, rising interest rates and the lack of inventory may result in a slower real estate market going forward.”
Attached is a link to a Quincy QATV “Good Deeds” episode with host Mark Crosby and Register O’Donnell discussing the 2022 Norfolk County real estate statistics and other issues relating to the Registry of Deeds:
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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 email@example.com.