It was a split decision when it came to 3rd quarter real estate data (July-September 2016) in Norfolk County, according to Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell. The Register noted that while real estate sales were flat, the lending market continued to boom thanks to continuing low interest rates.
O’Donnell stated, “Overall, Norfolk County is holding its own in terms of real estate sales. A total of 5,295 property transactions were recorded in the county during the 3rd quarter, representing a 1% reduction from same period in 2015. However, total real estate volume, both residential and commercial, for the quarter came in at $2.9 billion, a 21% increase compared to last year’s numbers. The average sales price, including both residential and commercial quarter 3 was $808,198, a solid 25% increase year over year. It should be noted the total sales and average sales numbers were impacted by a $205 million dollar sale of Westwood Station that took place in mid-August.”
“The lending market,” noted O’Donnell “was the real silver lining story. The total number of mortgages recorded was 9,717, a solid 21% increase from the previous year. In addition, total mortgage financing finished at $4.65 billion for the quarter, a 34% increase from last year’s 3rd quarter 2015. Clearly, consumers and businessmen are taking advantage of continuing low interest rates to pay for new home purchases, home improvements, education expenses and expansion of business. More than anything, these robust lending figures tell us the eastern Massachusetts economy remains vibrant.”
While there is no question the local economy remains on solid footing, some of our neighbors continue to face economic challenges. “The 3rd quarter saw 83 foreclosure deeds recorded, a sobering 34% increase year over year. More encouraging was the reduction in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process. A total of 201 Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings were recorded during the 3rd quarter period compared to 238 for the 3rd quarter 2015. While one foreclosure filing is one too many, hopefully this trend in reduced filings will continue,” stated O’Donnell.
O’Donnell went on to list the ways the Registry of Deeds can help those facing a foreclosure. “The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds continues to partner with Quincy Community Action Programs at (617) 479-8181 x-376 and Neighbor Works Southern Mass at (508) 598-0950 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. I would urge those facing issues paying a mortgage to avail themselves of these excellent programs,” stated Register O’Donnell.
On another consumer note, Homestead recordings were flat during the 3rd quarter. A total of 3,710 Homesteads were recorded versus 3,700 during the same time period in 2015. Register O’Donnell reiterated the importance of filing a Homestead, “A Homestead recording provides for limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. I encourage homeowners to continue to avail themselves of this important consumer protection tool.”
In conclusion Register O’Donnell stated, “While the Norfolk County real estate sales figures were flat for the 3rd quarter 2016, I am glad there was no significant drop- off. What was really encouraging were the solid numbers seen in lending activity. One note, however, the Federal Reserve is again considering raising interest rates before year’s end. We will need to watch this carefully to see how it affects real estate activity.”
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The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, located at 649 High Street, Dedham is the principal office for real property in Norfolk County. The Registry is a source for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or on the web at www.norfolkdeeds.org.