While the weather in May was starting to get slightly warmer, so too was the Norfolk County real estate market, according to Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell.
The Register noted that a noticeable uptick in both real estate sales and lending transactions happened last month. “Specifically, during the month of May, Norfolk County real estate sales, both residential and commercial, totaled 1,742, a healthy 7% increase year over year.”
While real estate transactions increased, the average real estate price, again both residential and commercial, was $702,071, a 16% decrease compared to May 2018. Also, total dollar real estate sales volume decreased 13% to $786.3 million. However, according to O’Donnell, these figures can be attributed to two big commercial sales last year of $61 million and $70 million that skewed the numbers.
Lending activity in Norfolk County also rose during the month of May. “The number of mortgages recorded against County properties increased 6% year over year. The increases in real estate sales and mortgage transactions clearly tells us that the market is definitely loosening up, due in part to increased real estate inventory. Sustaining the available inventory numbers will be a key component in ensuring that the Norfolk County real estate market continues its push in a positive direction,” noted O’Donnell.
The month of May also saw Norfolk County homeowners continuing to take advantage of the Homestead Act. During May, a total of 1,160 Homesteads were recorded, a 5% increase compared to May 2018. Register O’Donnell spoke about the importance of recording a Homestead Act against your primary property. “A Homestead is an important consumer tool that provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000,” stated the Register.
Another good sign for the market has been the reduction in foreclosure activity during the past several months. The number of foreclosure deeds recorded in the county during May was 4, a significant 75% decrease compared to May 2018. In addition, the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process, was 41, a 38% decrease year over year.
Register O’Donnell noted that the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds continues to partner with non-profit agencies Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-8181 x376 and NeighborWorks Housing Solutions, a new entity recently created by the merger of NeighborWorks Southern Massachusetts and Housing Solutions for Southeastern Massachusetts. For assistance, you can call NeighborWorks Housing Solutions at 508-587-0950.
Both NeighborWorks Housing Solutions and Quincy Community Action Programs are staffed with professionals that can help someone who has received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage document. Another option is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at 617-727-8400.
Concluding his remarks, Register O’Donnell noted, “The increase in May’s sales and lending activity, coupled with a larger pool of available housing, gives me guarded optimism to believe that the Norfolk County real estate market is heading for a good summer run. Another factor that should help is the continued stabilizing of interest rates by the Fed which we’ve seen during the last quarter.”
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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.