Register O’Donnell Sees Positive Results for August Norfolk County Real Estate Market

Reviewing the latest housing and financial data, Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O'Donnell believes there was some good news coming out of the Norfolk County real estate market for the month of August; which saw property transactions rise by nearly double digits.

"The total number of deeds recorded for the month of August increased 9% compared to August 2014. These numbers are confirmation of my strong belief that Norfolk County is a destination location for individuals and families to live and work. Reinforcing this belief is the 5% increase in total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales to $737 million," noted Register O'Donnell.

On the flip side, the average sale price of Norfolk County property decreased 2% to $597,009. O'Donnell stated, "We need to watch this figure closely to see if this decrease that took place in August was an aberration or a slight market correction that is taking hold,"

The mortgage market continued its improvement. Statistics showed that in August, 2,607 mortgages were recorded compared to 2,394 during the same time period in 2014. Total mortgage indebtedness for the month was $1.058 billion, a 47% decrease compared to the previous August. Tthis decrease is explained by a large mortgage that was taken out against commercial retail property in Dedham, Canton and Medfield in August of 2014.

Another positive result that occurred in August was the reduced number of foreclosure deeds filed and maybe more importantly, a significant reduction in Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings. There were 19 foreclosure deeds filed in August as compared to 21 in August 2014. "Lending institutions have been working through a backlog of foreclosures that resulted from the economic downturn that occurred in 2008. Hopefully, this reduction in foreclosure deed filings will continue," said the Norfolk County Register.

Even more encouraging was the reduced number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings. "There were 31 Notice to Foreclose Mortgages recorded in August as compared to 52 year over year. Notice to Foreclose Mortgage is the first step in the foreclosure process. While one foreclosure is one too many, it is hoped these numbers are an indication that the worst of the crisis is behind us," stated Register 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 to Foreclose Mortgage from a lender. Another option for homeowners is to call the Massachusetts Attorney General's HomeCorps program at (617) 573-5333.

Homestead recordings increased 9% in August compared to one year ago. Homestead recordings provide limited protection against the forced sale of an individual's primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000.

Register O'Donnell stated, "In several ways, August was a solid month for real estate activity in Norfolk County. Growth in the number of deeds and mortgages recorded were a clear indication a strong economy is propelling a robust real estate market. In particular, the increase in mortgage filings was a result of low interest rates and property owner's taking advantage of equity in their homes."

While the trend lines are positive, there are 3 notes of caution, noted Register O'Donnell. "First, I continue to be concerned about the level of housing inventory. Increased inventory is critical to maintaining growth in the real estate market. Secondly, while August was a volatile month for the stock market, I remain concerned about a potential move by the Federal Reserve Bank to increase interest rates and the effect it might have on borrowing. Finally, we need to keep a close eye on the new federal disclosure rules, scheduled to go into effect in early October, and the resulting impact it will have on real estate closings and mortgage processing, particularly in the 4th quarter."

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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.