Register O’Donnell Reports May Brings Mixed Real Estate Results

Continuing a theme seen over the past few months, Register of Deeds William P. O'Donnell reported that reduced inventory activity in Norfolk County has had a mixed effect on the real estate market during the month of May, 2015.

Register O'Donnell noted, "What we have consistently seen throughout the late winter and spring months is a decrease of real estate inventory in Norfolk County. May 2015 figures continue to reflect that slide with the total number of commercial and residential real estate sales slightly down by 2.6%, 1,451 compared to 1,492 in May 2014.

"However, there was some silver lining in May's housing data. While the total number of sales fell, the average sale price of commercial and residential property continued its upward trend, increasing 5% year over year to $652,981. Total volume of commercial and residential sales also showed an uptick, jumping 2% to $604.6 million."

Another positive indicator according to the Register was the continued strong performance of the mortgage market in Norfolk County. He noted that during May 2015, the total number of mortgages recorded increased by 26% compared to the same time last year. Total mortgage indebtedness also increased by 46%. "The mortgage figures clearly reflect increased consumer confidence. Homeowners are showing an increased willingness to take advantage of equity in their homes to finance home improvements and other critical needs," stated Register O'Donnell.

With regard to other housing data, Homestead recordings, which provide limited protection against the forced sale of an individual's primary residence up to $500,000, decreased 1% from May 2014 to May 2015. A total of 997 Homesteads were recorded compared to 1,007 in May 2014. Information on how to apply for the Homestead Act can be found on the Registry's website at

Foreclosure activity worsened in Norfolk County during May 2015. Notices to Foreclose Mortgage recordings totaled 63 in May compared to 48 in May 2014. In addition, 25 foreclosure deeds were recorded in May compared to 13 in May 2014, a significant 92% increase. Commenting on the foreclosure statistics, O'Donnell stated, "There is no way to sugarcoat these numbers. Clearly, the economic expansion experienced in eastern Massachusetts these past few years has not lifted all boats. Some of our neighbors are in crisis. The Registry continues to partner with Quincy Community Action Programs at (617) 479-8181 x-376 and Neighbor Works Southern Mass at (508) 598-0950 to help anyone who has received a Notice of Foreclosure from a lender. Another option for consumers is to call the Massachusetts Attorney General's HomeCorps program at (617) 573-5333."

Register O'Donnell concluded, "The total real estate sales figure for May 2015 was disappointing. With that said, I continue to be cautiously optimistic that we will see an uptick in real estate inventory resulting in an increased number of sales. Norfolk County continues to be a very desirable location for individuals and their families to live and work."

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at or follow us on @NorfolkDeeds.

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.