Dedham - Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that the April numbers relative to Norfolk County show a continuing decrease in real estate activity compared to April 2021 and even compared to the March 2022 numbers.
“Our data indicates that the Norfolk County real estate numbers in April indicate a continued slowdown in the market compared to 2021 and, except for a slight increase in sales, when compared to the overall numbers from last month,”, noted Register O’Donnell. “There were 11,179 documents recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds in April, a 37% decrease from April, 2021 and a decrease of 10% from March of 2022”.
“The number of deeds for April 2022, which reflect real estate sales and transfers both commercial and residential, decreased by 16% from April, 2021 but did increase by 3% from March. However, sale prices continue to surge. The average sale price in April was $1,534,065, a 32% increase compared to April 2021. Total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales also showed gains from one year ago, increasing 11% and surprisingly are up 41% from last month,” noted the Register.
Overall lending activity show a continued trend downward for the month of April. A total of 2,210 mortgages were recorded during the month, a significant decrease of 48% compared to a year ago and down 8% from last month. “It appears that interest rate increases and the fact that many consumers have already refinanced may be impacting the numbers,” noted O’Donnell.
A continuing cause for concern in Norfolk County is the number of pending foreclosures. The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has been closely watching the foreclosure market. During April, there were 4 foreclosure deeds recorded as a result of mortgage foreclosures taking place in Norfolk County, two less than in April, 2021 and one less than in March. However, there were 22 Notices to Foreclose, the first step in the foreclosure process, recorded in April, up significantly from 4 recorded in April 2021, and up from 11 recorded last month. “The dramatic increase in the number of these notices is alarming. It indicates that more of our neighbors are facing financial challenges going forward”, said O’Donnell. “We will continue to monitor these numbers.”
For the past several years, the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has partnered with Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-8181 x376, and NeighborWorks Housing Solutions, 508-587-0950 to help anyone facing challenges paying their mortgage. Another option for homeowners is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at 617-727-8400. Register O’Donnell stated, “If you are having difficulty paying your monthly mortgage, please consider contacting one of these non-profit agencies for help and guidance.”
Homestead recordings by owners of homes and condominiums decreased again this month at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds. There was a 13% decrease in homestead recordings in April 2022 compared to April 2021 but a slight increase from last month. “The comparison from last April is not too surprising where the sales of homes have started to level off, but all homeowners, not just new purchasers, should keep in mind that a recorded Declaration of Homestead provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000,” noted O’Donnell. “We want to see folks protecting the biggest asset most of us have, our homes. I would urge anyone who has not availed themselves of this important consumer protection tool to consider doing so. The recording fee is only $36. Feel free to visit the Registry website at www.norfolkdeeds.org to get more information on homesteads and to make sure you have taken advantage of this protection.”
Register O’Donnell concluded, “April real estate activity in Norfolk County continues to show a decline from last year. We still see the increase in sale prices as indicating a lack of available real estate inventory which for buyers, particularly first time buyers, suggests a disadvantage.”
The Registry of Deeds continues to be open to the public for business. Registry personnel are processing in-person recordings as well as electronically filed recordings. The drop-off box located at the main entrance of the Registry building will continue to be available for use by those members of the public who may not be comfortable entering the Registry of Deeds building The volume of documents recorded electronically for many of our institutional users continues to increase. We are also receiving documents in person, via regular mail, Federal Express, UPS and from the outside drop-off box at 649 High Street, Dedham, MA.”
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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.