Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell today reported Norfolk County continues on a sluggish pace, as it experiences both stagnant real estate sales and a decline in mortgage lending activity.
O’Donnell noted, “During the month of February, 1,022 residential and commercial properties were sold in Norfolk County, resulting in no statistical change from the previous February.
“On the other hand, total dollar volume of real estate sales, again for both residential and commercial real estate sales, was $506 million, a 9% increase from February 2018, with the average sales price increasing by 5% to $911,986. This increase in sales price can be largely attributed to a sustained lack of inventory available on the market.”
Continuing a trend seen for the past several months, the total number of land documents recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds declined 9% to 8,584. This number was impacted by the 12% decrease in the number of mortgages recorded during the month.
On the lending side, the total amount of borrowing also declined 85%, but this number was somewhat skewed by a $2 billion mortgage that was taken out against the Calpine Fore River Energy Center in Quincy and Weymouth in February 2018.
One bright consumer spot was Norfolk County homeowners continuing to avail themselves of the benefits of the Homestead Act. A total of 661 Homesteads were recorded in February, a 6% increase compared to February 2018. “A Homestead,” noted O’Donnell “is an important shield that provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000.”
Foreclosure statistics also showed positive trends in February. A total of 15 foreclosure deeds were recorded during the month, a 12% decrease from the previous year. Also, the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process, fell 27% over the same period.
Register O’Donnell noted, “Foreclosure activity has been trending in the right direction for the past few months. With that said, some of our neighbors still face adversity and are having difficulty paying their mortgages. When it comes to a family potentially losing their home, one foreclosure is one too many.”
The Registry is proud of its partnerships with Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-8181 x376, and NeighborWorks Southern Mass, 508-587-0950. These organizations are available to help anyone who has received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage from a lender. Another option is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at 617-727-8400. Each of these programs are staffed by knowledgeable professionals. I urge anyone who is facing a foreclosure issue to avail themselves of these excellent programs.”
Register O’Donnell concluded, “Like other counties across the country, Norfolk County is experiencing limited real estate inventory. This condition has adversely impacted the dynamics of the industry, especially for potential first-time home buyers. What would help spur the real estate sector is to see a greater number of sales as a result of more properties hitting the market.”
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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 (718) 461-6101, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.