Despite a monthly trend of limited inventory, total real estate sales in May 2017, both residential and commercial, showed a solid 10% increase year over year.
Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell noted, “Surprisingly, Norfolk County real estate sales for May totaled 1,706 compared to 1,554 in May 2016. What was unsurprising is the low number of properties on the market which has given rise to competition, particularly for first-time homeowners, bidding against each other, resulting in healthy increases in both the average sale price and total sales.
“The average sales price for May, again for both residential and commercial, was $766,499, a 14% increase compared to the previous year. Total real estate sales volume increased a whopping 25% for the month coming in at $850 million. In light of the continuing low levels of real estate inventory, it will be interesting to see if this growth can be sustained.”
Lending activity for the month was a different story. A total of 2,426 mortgages were recorded during May, a 14% decrease from the previous year. Total mortgage financing for the month was $1.1 billion, a 3% reduction year over year. “An uptick in mortgage rates,” noted O’Donnell, “triggered these downward numbers. With the Federal Reserve projected to increase rates during the second half of 2017, I see the mortgage lending activity trend lines continuing for the foreseeable future.”
A bright spot for the month of May 2017 was Norfolk County homeowners continuing to take advantage of the Homestead Act. A total of 1,153 Homesteads were filed during May 2017, a 4% increase compared to the previous May. “The Homestead Act,” stated the Register, “is an important consumer tool. A Homestead provides limited protection against the forced sale of a homeowner’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000.”
Additional piece of good news was seen in the area of foreclosure activity. The total number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process was 60, a 28% reduction from the previous year. Foreclosure deed recordings, the final step in the foreclosure process, were flat. A total of 22 foreclosure deeds were processed in May, the same number recorded in May 2016.
“As I have said many times,” noted Register O’Donnell, “one foreclosure filing is one too many. With that said, I am heartened by the reduced foreclosure activity seen in Norfolk County. Please be aware the Registry continues to partner with Quincy Community Action Programs at (617) 479-8181 x-376 and Neighbor Works Southern Mass at (508) 598-0950. These two non-profits are there to help anyone who has received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage from a lender. Another option is to call the Massachusetts Attorney General’s HomeCorps program at (617) 573-5333.”
Register O’Donnell concluded, “Considering where we are in Norfolk County with low real estate inventory, I was pleasantly surprised by the upsurge of May’s real estate sales numbers. However, an important factor we need not overlook is the continued desire of individuals and families to live and work in Norfolk County. The strong quality of life and sound economy in eastern Massachusetts should be able to sustain the local real estate market through the rest of 2017.”
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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.