Register O’Donnell “Most County Real Estate Data Remains Solid in November 2016”

Norfolk County experienced for November 2016 a strong month of real estate sales and lending activity, tempered by a slight decrease in real estate sale prices.


Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell noted, “The number of property transactions increased by a healthy 12% in November, compared to the same period in 2015. A total of 1,563 deeds were recorded versus 1,395 in November 2015.


“However what was a little surprising was a small but noticeable 4% decrease in the average sale price of residential and commercial property. The average real estate sale price for the month of November was $721,968. However, total sales volume, again both residential and commercial, increased by 5% to $679 million.”


Another positive factor was that mortgage activity across the County increased in November by 37% as compared to November of 2015. A key factor in this activity, according to O’Donnell, was the relatively low interest rates still being offered by lending institutions.


While the number of mortgages recorded increased significantly, total mortgage financing for November came in at $1.78 billion, a 25% decrease from the previous year. This decrease can be explained by 3 separate commercial mortgage transactions totaling $550 million that were recorded against properties in Weymouth, Walpole and Plainville in November 2015.


Further, encouraging news was seen when it came to foreclosure activity. A total of 19 foreclosure deeds were filed in November compared to 24 filings year over year. In addition, Notice to Foreclose Mortgage activity, the first step in the foreclosure process, decreased a significant 40% during the month compared to the same time period in 2015. Fifty-two Notice to Foreclose Mortgages were filed in November compared to 86 in November 2015.  


“These foreclosure figures are encouraging news,” noted O’Donnell, “However, we can’t simply focus on statistics, without realizing the human impact that results from a foreclosure filing. Clearly, some of our neighbors continue to face economic hardship. My office remains committed to partnering with Quincy Community Action Programs at (508) 598-0950 and NeighborWorks Southern Mass at (508) 587-0950 x-46 to ensure homeowners who have received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage from a lender are getting the help they need. Another option is to call the Massachusetts Attorney General’s HomeCorps program at (617) 573-5333.”


The number of Homesteads recorded, an important consumer tool, increased by 7%. A total of 1,002 Homesteads were filed last month, compared to 939 in November 2015. O’Donnell noted, “A Homestead provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000.”


Register O’Donnell concluded, “While the slight dip in the average real estate sale price for Norfolk County in November was a bit surprising, I nevertheless was heartened by the solid 12% increase in the number of real estate transactions compared to year over year at a time of the year where typically there is less real estate activity. Lending activity continues its acceleration, which is good for the real estate market. As I have previously stated, an uptick in interest rates could cause a chilling effect on both real estate sales and lending. For now, however, we will accept the good news seen in the November data  while we keep a watchful eye on what the Federal Reserve will do with regards to interest rates.”


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The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, located at 649 High Street, Dedham is the principal office for real property in Norfolk County. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or on the web at



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.