Register O’Donnell Voices Concern About Norfolk County Real Estate Market

After analyzing the most recent housing data for Norfolk County, Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell expressed some concerns with regards to real estate sales and lending activity for the month of November 2017.


O’Donnell noted, “November real estate sales, for both residential and commercial activity, were off by 3% from the previous year. A total of 1,512 property transactions were recorded versus 1,563 in November 2016.


“Additionally, the average sale price of residential and commercial property for the month was $638,120, a 12% reduction year over year. Also, total sales volume, again for both residential and commercial, was $619 million, a 9% decrease from November 2016. Clearly, the limited amount of available real estate inventory is having a drag on the real estate market in Norfolk County.”


The story gets more sobering when we look at the lending market numbers in Norfolk County. “As we have seen for the last few months,” stated the Register, “the number of mortgages recorded during the month of November decreased by a significant 28%. Also, the total volume of mortgage financing, for both residential and commercial properties, came in at $1.1 billion, a 35% decrease year over year. There is no question consumers are being cautious when considering big ticket expenses. Furthermore, interest rates have crept up slightly, which have proven disconcerting to many homeowners interested in purchasing a home.”


There was one major piece of positive news in the area of foreclosure activity where a total of  13 foreclosure deeds were filed in November in comparison to 19 filings in the same 2016 time period. However, on the other hand, a total of 125 Notice to Foreclose Mortgage documents, the first step in the foreclosure process, were recorded versus only 52 in November 2016.   


“Frankly, the Notice to Foreclose Mortgage numbers were disappointing,” noted Register O’Donnell. “We must continue to bear in mind that foreclosure activity has a human face, even during these seemingly decent economic times. My office remains highly committed to partnering with the Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-8181 x376, and NeighborWorks Southern Mass, 508-587-0950 to help homeowners who have received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage document. A third option is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at 617-727-8400.”


Homestead recordings were flat with a total of 1,004 Homesteads filed in November compared to 1,002 in November 2016. 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, “There is no question that both real estate and lending activity in Norfolk County took a hit in November. Therefore, it is unlikely we will see any momentum in the housing market until there are increased levels of inventory, particularly when it comes to starter homes. While the prevailing feeling is that change in leadership at the Federal Reserve will not disrupt current monetary policies, it nevertheless bears watching, especially when it comes to rising interest rates.”


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The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street in Dedham.  The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information.  All land record research information can be found on the Registry’s website  Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or email us at [email protected].




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.