Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that the May 2022 numbers relative to Norfolk County recordings indicate a continuing decrease in overall real estate activity compared to the May 2021 numbers but show a significant increase in average sale prices.
“Our data indicates that the Norfolk County real estate numbers in May signal a continued slowdown in the market compared to 2021 but show a slight uptick from last month,” noted Register O’Donnell. “There were 11,556 documents recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds in May, a 29% decrease from May, 2021 but an increase of 3% from April, 2022”.
“The number of deeds for May 2022, which reflect real estate sales and transfers, both commercial and residential, show a slight decrease of 3% from May, 2021 but an increase of 25% from April 2022. Sale prices continue to surge as compared to last year but may be starting to level off. The average sale price in May was $1,264,350, a 26% increase compared to May 2021 but down 18% from last month. Total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales also showed gains from one year ago, increasing 22% and up 3% from last month,” noted the Register.
Overall lending activity show a continued trend downward for the month of May. A total of 2,283 mortgages were recorded during the month, a significant decrease of 40% compared to a year ago. “It appears that the interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve Board and the fact that many consumers have already refinanced are impacting mortgage activity,” 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 May, there were 5 foreclosure deeds recorded as a result of mortgage foreclosures taking place in Norfolk County, one more than in May, 2021 and one less than in April. However, there were 21 Notices to Foreclose, the first step in the foreclosure process, recorded in May, up significantly from 14 recorded in May 2021. “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 8% decrease in homestead recordings in May 2022 compared to May 2021 but increased 16% from last month. “The comparison from last May 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, “May real estate activity in Norfolk County continues to show a decline from last year. We still see the increase in sale prices from last year as indicating a continuing lack of available real estate inventory but looking at the numbers from last month, it appears the market may be starting to cool down a bit.”
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 email@example.com.