A modest increase in mortgage lending highlights April’s real estate activity in Norfolk County, according to Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell.
“For the first time in several months, the county experienced an increase in mortgage financing. A total of 1,974 mortgages were recorded at the Registry, which is a 4% increase year over year. This is an indicator that consumers are perhaps beginning to feel more comfortable borrowing money for big ticket items such as real estate, home improvements and educational expenses,” noted the Register
Norfolk County also witnessed an increase in real estate sales during the same time period, totaling 1,378 real estate sales transactions for both residential and commercial sales, a 10% increase. Conversely, the average real estate sales price, again combining both residential and commercial sales, fell 12% to $880,613. Total gross dollar real estate volume was $730.9 million, a 6% decrease.
Register O’Donnell noted, “While real estate sales and mortgage financing data were somewhat encouraging, I nevertheless would like to see a few more months of numbers before I can state there has been a turnaround from the limited economic activity that has been taking place in the real estate sector. Additionally, the current lack of available real estate inventory is still a nagging problem, especially for first time potential homebuyers who are attempting to crack the market.”
Foreclosure activity was a mixed bag for the same time period. O’Donnell stated, “first the good news: there was a 47% decrease in the number of foreclosure deeds. The bad news: a total of 83 Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process, were filed resulting in a 73% increase.”
The Register noted that the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds continues to work with 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.
Norfolk County homeowners continued to take advantage of the protections offered through the Homestead Act. A total of 895 Homestead documents were recorded in April, a 5% increase year over year. “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 consumer protection tool,” noted O’Donnell.
In conclusion Register O’Donnell stated, “I was pleasantly surprised by the uptick seen in lending activity during April. Of course, one month does not make a trend, but the news is nevertheless encouraging. The total number of property sales was also encouraging too, but we correspondingly need to see an increase in real estate inventory, particularly for first-time homebuyers, before we will see a real breakout relative to real estate sales in the county.”
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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.