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

Dedham, MA – Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that Norfolk County recordings for the month of June 2023 indicate a continued decrease in overall real estate activity, with significant drops in average property sale prices and the total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales as compared to June 2022.

“As compared to last year, we are still seeing a decrease in overall real estate activity, however, this month the decrease in document volume was less pronounced than in previous months,” noted Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell. “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. Additionally, while overall real estate activity is down compared to 2022, the market continues to show steady seasonal fluctuations month over month.”

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds recorded 10,552 documents in June 2023, the highest one-month total of the year so far. This was 19% less than in June 2022 but 15% more than in May 2023.

Register O’Donnell explained, “The decline in overall real estate activity can be attributed to a number of likely factors, including rising interest rates, a slowdown in new construction projects, and a lack of existing inventory. The housing market has become increasingly competitive and difficult for consumers, especially 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 June. A total of 1,543 mortgages were recorded this month, 33% less than a year ago at the same time, but up 8% from last month.

“So far this year, June has seen the largest monthly volume of deeds and mortgages. This month also saw some of the smallest decreases from the previous year in terms of the number of deeds, mortgages, and average sale price,” noted Register O’Donnell. “This may suggest that while some homeowners are hesitant to make moves with average mortgage interest rates above 6%, others are not dissuaded by current interest rates, but time will tell if this trend continues.”

 The number of deeds for June 2023, which reflect real estate sales and transfers, both commercial and residential, was 1,721, a decrease of 12% from June 2022 but an increase of 27% from the previous month of May.

“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 June appear to have dropped compared to June 2022. The average sale price in June was $1,039,792, a 12% decrease from June 2022, but a 5% increase from May 2023. The total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales is down, decreasing 29% from one year ago but increasing 48% from last month.

“While prices have come down from a year ago, the demand to live and own a home in the 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.”

Homestead recordings by owners of homes and condominiums decreased again this month at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds. There was a 16% decrease in homestead recordings in June 2023 compared to June 2022.

“The reduction in recorded Declarations of Homestead is not too surprising where the sales of homes continue to level off, but all homeowners, not just new purchasers, should keep in mind that a recorded Declaration of Homestead provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000,” noted O’Donnell. “We want to see folks protecting the biggest asset most of us have, our homes. I would urge anyone who has not availed themselves of this important consumer protection tool to consider doing so.”

The recording fee for a homestead is $36. Visit the Registry website at www.norfolkdeeds.org to get more information on homesteads and obtain a homestead application form.

Register O’Donnell concluded, “We are seeing some significant increases month over month in the home buying season, the period where we typically see the most home sales, and despite recent declines in the market, driven by areas in Norfolk County that are seeing growth and stability, but it remains to be seen if this momentum will continue as we move into the second half of the year.”

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.