A strong local economy and continuing low interest rates have resulted in a robust January Norfolk County real estate market, according to Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell.
Register O’Donnell stated, “During the month of January, real estate sales, for both residential and commercial property, rose by 11% from the previous year. A total of 1,261 property transactions were recorded versus 1,141 in January 2019. This increase was all the more impressive when one considers the continuing challenges facing the real estate market due to limited amount of inventory for sale.”
According to January statistics, the average combined sale price of residential and commercial property for the month was $900,864, a 36% increase year over year. In addition, total dollar sales volume, again for both residential and commercial properties, was $636 million, a 47% increase from January of 2019. “These numbers,” noted Register O’Donnell, “were impacted by a $50 million commercial sale recorded during the month in Brookline.”
Norfolk County lending numbers, again fueled by low interest rates, showed a large increase during the month of January. The Register noted, “The number of mortgages recorded during the month increased by 64%. Also, the total volume of mortgage financing, for both residential and commercial properties, came in at $1.2 billion, a 98% increase year over year. There can be no doubt consumers and businesses both are continuing to take advantage of low interest rates.”
However, a definite concern was in the area of foreclosure activity. “During January,” noted the Register, “there were 15 foreclosure deeds filed compared to 12 during the same time period in 2019. Also, there was a 36% increase in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings, the first step in the foreclosure process.”
“The foreclosure numbers seen in January are a stark reminder that while the local economy remains strong, some of our neighbors are having trouble paying their mortgage. I want to remind Norfolk County residents that my office continues to partner with the Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-8181 x376, and NeighborWorks Housing Solutions, 508-587-0950. These organizations can 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.”
On the consumer front, the number of Homestead recordings also increased during January. A total of 842 Homesteads were filed compared to 757 in January 2019. O’Donnell noted, “A Homestead provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. I urge homeowners to review the possibility of taking advantage of the Homestead law.”
Register O’Donnell concluded, “The data we have seen for Norfolk County is reinforced by what we are hearing from both real estate agents and mortgage loan officers. The low real estate inventory has led to bidding wars, where in some cases, properties are being sold above the original asking price. It is the industry’s belief that average real estate sales price should remain high until there is a substantial increase in inventory, something we do not see happening in the near future.”
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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. It is also the repository of over 8.5 million land records. 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.