Register O’Donnell Reports on April 2023 Real Estate Activity in Norfolk County

Dedham – Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that Norfolk County recordings for the month of April 2023 indicate a continued decrease in overall real estate activity, with significant drops in mortgage activity, average property sale price, and number of properties sold as compared to April 2022.

“As compared to last year, we are still seeing significant decreases in the number of documents filed.” Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell continued, “Despite the overall decline in activity throughout the county, there are still pockets of the market here in Norfolk County that are seeing growth and stability, particularly in certain neighborhoods and property types. As the market continues to shift and adapt, it will be important for buyers, sellers, and agents alike to stay informed and nimble in order to make the most of the current conditions.”

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds recorded 7,650 documents in April 2023. This was 32% less than in April 2022 and 10% less than in March 2023.

“The decrease in overall real estate activity is likely due to a variety of factors, including rising interest rates, a slowdown in new construction projects, and a lack of existing inventory,” noted Register O’Donnell. “Factors like these are resulting in a housing market that is becoming increasingly competitive and challenging for buyers, particularly first-time homebuyers, who may struggle to find affordable options in desirable areas.”

Overall lending activity showed a continued downward trend for the month of April. A total of 1,106 mortgages were recorded this month, 50% less than a year ago at the same time and down 14% from last month.

“A continued decline in the number of mortgages recorded at the registry may indicate that homeowners who locked in lower interest rates that were out there in years past are hesitant to make moves with average mortgage interest rates above 6%,” said Register O’Donnell.

 The number of deeds for April 2023, which reflect real estate sales and transfers, both commercial and residential, was 1,119, a decrease of 21% from April 2022 and a decrease of 10% from the previous month of March.

“The decrease in the number of deeds is likely due to a lack of inventory of new and existing homes, which means fewer homes are listed, keeping costs above pre-pandemic prices,” noted Register O’Donnell. “Higher prices also mean that some buyers may be struggling to find affordable homes within their budget, leading to a decrease in the number of potential buyers and further decreasing the number of home sales.”

Sale prices for April appear to have dropped compared to April 2022. The average sale price in April was $926,960, a 40% decrease from April 2022 and a 5% increase from March 2023. The total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales is down, decreasing 58% from one year ago and decreasing 5% from last month.

“While prices have come down significantly from a year ago, the demand to live and own a home in communities that make up Norfolk County remains high,” said O’Donnell. “This may suggest that the decrease in dollar volume may be due to a shortage of available properties and a decline in the number of individuals with the ability to buy.”

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has been closely monitoring the foreclosure market. In April 2023, there were 10 foreclosure deeds recorded as a result of mortgage foreclosures taking place in Norfolk County, whereas in April 2022, there were 4 recorded. Additionally, this month, there were 30 notices to foreclose, the first step in the foreclosure process, significantly more than the 22 recorded in April 2022.

“The increase in the number of these notices is troubling. It suggests that more of our neighbors may have financial difficulties in the future,” said O’Donnell. “We will continue to monitor these figures.”

For the past several years, 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 anyone facing challenges paying their mortgage. Another option for homeowners is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at 617-727-8400.

“If you are having difficulty paying your monthly mortgage, please consider contacting one of these non-profit agencies for help and guidance,” said Register O’Donnell.

Register O’Donnell concluded, “The current economic climate that the country is currently facing has a ripple effect on several aspects of the local real estate market impacting buyers, sellers, and real estate agents.” Register O’Donnell continued, “Despite recent declines, there are still areas in Norfolk County that are seeing growth and stability.”

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.