Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported flat real estate sales in Norfolk County for the month of October as well as the continuing decline in mortgage activity.
Register O’Donnell stated, “There were a total of 1,537 real estate sales, both residential and commercial, in Norfolk County for October, representing a 1% increase year over year. The average sales price, again for both residential and commercial, was $716,650 for the month, a 5% decrease compared to October 2016. Additionally, the total dollar sales volume for these properties was $682 million, a 1% decrease compared to the previous year.”
October mortgage activity showed a sobering picture with a sharp decline. O’Donnell noted, “A total of 2,403 mortgages were recorded during the month of October, a 23% decrease from the previous year. Total mortgage indebtedness also decreased significantly by 48% to $1.09 billion. This number was impacted further by a $600 million mortgage taken out by Steward Norwood Hospital back in October 2016. With that said, there is no question consumers are wary of committing large sums of money for items such as home improvements and other capital expenditures.”
However, there was good news when it came to foreclosure activity. A total of 26 foreclosure deeds were recorded in October compared to 34 recorded during the same time in 2016, a 23% reduction. Another positive sign was the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process. Fifty-nine Notice to Foreclose Mortgages were filed in October compared to 77 year over year, a drop-off of 24%.
Register O’Donnell stated, “Foreclosure numbers are continuing to trend in the right direction, which is excellent news. With that said, we must remember that foreclosure activity has a human face, even during these good economic times. My office remains committed to partnering with the Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-8181 x376, and NeighborWorks Southern Mass, 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.”
The number of Homesteads recorded during the month of October was also flat. A total of 1,034 Homesteads were filed compared to 1,010 during the previous October. O’Donnell reiterated the importance of filing a Homestead, “A Homestead provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000.”
Register O’Donnell concluded, “Real estate sales activity in Norfolk County is in a bit of a holding pattern. We will not see any significant breakthrough until available inventory increases. Another issue to keep in mind is the potential of interest rate hikes and its impact on both real estate sales and lending activity. My office will continue to monitor the situation very closely throughout the balance of calendar year 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.