Register O’Donnell Sees Encouraging Trends in Real Estate Market

Citing continued growth in the total dollar volume of real estate sales and the robust gains in the mortgage market in the 2nd quarter, 2015, Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O'Donnell expressed "cautious optimism" that the Norfolk County real estate market is exhibiting several encouraging signs.

The Register noted, "During the last quarter (April-June), the total number of deeds recorded rose a modest 4% to 4,745 compared to the same time period in 2014. I am convinced this number would have even been bigger except for the lack of real estate inventory as buyers compete amongst themselves for a limited number of properties."

Register O'Donnell went on to say, "The total dollar volume of residential and commercial real estate sales increased by a significant 27% to $2.4 billion and the average sale price of property increased by 24% to $790,659 compared to the same quarter last year. These numbers clearly reflect, that despite the limited number of properties available, Norfolk County continues to be a desirable place to live and work."

Another big story was the continued turnaround in the mortgage market. The Register cited the number of mortgages recorded 8,510, a substantial 30% increase from the 2nd quarter of 2014. Total mortgage borrowing for the comparative period was $3.9 billion, a 45% increase. "What these figures show is the continuing improvement in the real estate market and in consumer confidence in the mortgage markets. Such actions can only improve the overall economy," stated Register O'Donnell.

One troubling statistic to note was the 69 foreclosure deeds filed in the County during the 2nd quarter, a 77% increase from the same time period in 2014. "This is a result of lending institutions working through a backlog of foreclosures, which were triggered by the housing crisis of 2008 and it's not just affecting Norfolk County, but all areas of Massachusetts. Compounding this data was the modest increase in the number of notice to foreclose recordings, 149 in the 2nd quarter, as compared to 138 during the same time period of last year. Notice to Foreclose Mortgage is the first step in the foreclosure process. These stats are a clear indicator that some of our neighbors are still struggling," said O'Donnell.

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.

One remaining positive development gleamed from the past quarter was a 7% increase in the number of Homesteads recorded. Homestead recording provides for limited protection against the forced sale of an individual's primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000.

Register O'Donnell concluded, "Overall, I continue to be cautiously optimistic about the Norfolk County real estate market. I am hopeful that we will see an uptick in inventory which will benefit home buyers, particularly first-timers looking to own a starter house or condominium. However, one note of caution is to watch what the Federal Reserve does with interest rates later this year."

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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.