Register O’Donnell Delivers Third Quarter of Year 2021 Real Estate Activity Report

Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that third quarter (July-September 2021) real estate stats showed an increase in residential and commercial sales, while mortgage lending numbers experienced a decline.


Register O’Donnell noted, “The recently concluded third quarter of the calendar year, the average Norfolk County real estate sales price, both residential and commercial, increased 16% to $1,001,738. Total real estate volume, again both residential and commercial, was $3.7 billion, a 23% increase year over year.”


Register O’Donnell further stated, “The third quarter of the calendar year figures also show an overall 10% increase in the number of properties sold countywide from 5,893 to 5,342 for the same quarter of 2020.”


For the third quarter of 2021, the number of land documents recorded, (such as deeds, mortgages, Homesteads, mortgage discharges, etc.) was 48,341, a 3% drop from the previous year. Register O’Donnell noted, “These figures are pointing that things are starting to slow down.  We will continue to watch these numbers.”


Another area that is slowing down was the 10,869 mortgages recorded at the Registry during the third quarter of the calendar year 2021 compared to 12,900 for the same time period in 2020.  This is a sixteen percent (16%) decrease in the third quarter of 2021 over the same period in 2020. Total mortgage borrowing was $8.9 billion for the third quarter of the year compared to $5.3 billion during the third quarter of 2020. “With the relatively low interest rates, consumers seem to be more comfortable borrowing money, however it appears most consumers who were going to refinance have done so.” stated the Register.


Norfolk County homeowners continued to benefit from the Homestead Act. A total of 3,840 Homesteads were recorded during the third quarter of the calendar year, which is comparable to last year’s 3,822 Homestead recordings. “The Homestead law provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. I urge Norfolk County residents to consider this important consumer protection tool,” noted O’Donnell.


Another sobering indicator was the uptick in foreclosure activity in Norfolk County. A total of 18 foreclosure deeds were recorded versus 9 filed during the third quarter of 2020. In addition, there was a significant increase in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process.


O’Donnell stated, “While the eastern Massachusetts economy remains on a solid footing, there are still those in Norfolk County experiencing economic hardship, in many cases through no fault of their own. The Registry continues to work with Quincy Community Action Programs, (617-479-8181 x376), and NeighborWorks Housing Solutions, (508-587-0950) to 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.”


Register O’Donnell concluded, “While the numbers were a bit contradictory, I am confident that Norfolk County real estate remains a very strong commodity. The Registry will continue to monitor the housing inventory levels and future real estate indicators closely.”


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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 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 protected].



The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds will be closed on Thursday, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. We are open Friday, July 5th.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is closed Today, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. We are open Friday, July 5th.