Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported lending activity, fueled by continued low interest rates, showed significant increases during October 2019.
O’Donnell noted, “As we saw during the 3rd quarter 2019, significant increases year over were seen with lending activity in Norfolk County. A total of 3,373 mortgages were recorded in October, a significant 62% increase compared to October 2018. Also, the total amount of money borrowed against Norfolk County properties during the month was $1.9 billion, a 106% increase compared to the previous year. While this particular figure was impacted by two commercial loans of $100 million and $160 million recorded against Franklin and Braintree properties respectively, the statistics also show that positive trend lines relative to borrowing in the county continue unabated. Consumers are clearly taking advantage of low interest rates to purchase big ticket items and pay for large capital expenses.”
During October, the number of county real estate transactions, both residential and commercial, recorded was 3,373, a 5% increase year over year. Buyers also saw encouraging signs as the average real estate sales price, again both residential and commercial, fell 6% to $878,369. Total dollar real estate sales for the month was $866 million, a 2% decrease from the previous year. “These figures,” noted the Register, “bear watching as they may portend a real estate inventory increase and more options for prospective Norfolk County homeowners.”
Norfolk County homeowners continued to show they are very familiar with the benefits of the Homestead Act. A total of 1,042 Homesteads were recorded during the month of October, a 2% increase compared to October 2018. Register O’Donnell reiterated the importance of having a Homestead. “A Homestead provides limited protection against the forced sale of a homeowner’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. I urge Norfolk County residents to consider this important consumer protection tool.”
One surprise seen during October was a small increase in the number of foreclosure deeds recorded countywide. A total of 17 foreclosure deeds were recorded compared to 14 during the same timeframe in 2018. This bit of bad news was offset by a 28% decrease in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgages, the first step in the foreclosure process, recorded during the month.
O’Donnell stated, “The reduction in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings in October was certainly encouraging. With that said, we want any homeowner facing challenges paying their mortgage to know help is available. 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 any homeowner who has received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage document. An additional option available is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at 617-727-8400.”
Register O’Donnell concluded, “A robust eastern Massachusetts economy continues to propel the Norfolk County real estate market in a positive direction. Strong lending activity, also fueled by low interest rates, and an uptick in real estate sales shows Norfolk County homeowners are confident about the current state of the economy and their finances. Another possible factor to consider could be concern that a possible recession, forecast by some economic watchdogs, could mean it is more advantageous to borrow now instead of in calendar year 2020.”
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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.