Register O’Donnell Sees Mixed Signals with Norfolk County Real Estate in October

Mixed signals were the theme for Norfolk County real estate activity in the month of October 2016.


Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported, “The data collected shows seemingly contradictory figures when it comes to both real estate sales and lending activity. While sales showed a slight year-over-year decrease of 4%, the average sale price of residential and commercial property during October was $756,035 a 27% increase. Additionally total sales volume, again for both residential and commercial property, was $688 million; it marked a 14% increase compared to October 2015.”


Mortgage activity also showed some mixed signals. O’Donnell stated, “The number of mortgages recorded during the month of October was 3,120, a 23% increase compared to the previous year. However, total mortgage financing for the month was $2 billion, compared to $3.4 billion the previous year. The drop-off is largely attributable to a $811 million property financed in Quincy and Braintree in October 2015.”


The same mixed signals were also seen in foreclosure activity. The bad news was the increase in the number of foreclosure deeds recorded. A total of 34 foreclosure deeds were recorded in October compared to 14 recorded during the same time in 2015. The good news was a reduction in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process. Seventy-seven Notice to Foreclose Mortgages were filed in October compared to 101 filed in October 2015.


“While I am guardedly optimistic the worst of the foreclosure activity is behind us,” noted O’Donnell, “these numbers do tell us that some of our neighbors continue to face economic hardship. My office is committed to partnering with Quincy Community Action Programs at (508) 598-0950 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 available to homeowners, was essentially flat. A total of 1,010 Homesteads were filed last month, compared to 1,016 during the previous October. 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, “The real estate sales activity experienced in Norfolk County during the month of October clearly shows a tremendous amount of competition for a limited number of properties available.  Keys for a healthy real estate market going forward will be the level of available inventory and whether there will be a potential rate increase by the Federal Reserve. My office will be monitoring these issues very closely.”


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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.