Register O’Donnell Delivers First Half of Year 2021 Real Estate Activity

Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that first half (January-June 2021) real estate stats showed a major increase in residential and commercial sales, while mortgage lending numbers experienced an uptick as well. 


Register O’Donnell noted, “The recently concluded first half of the calendar year, the average Norfolk County real estate sales price, both residential and commercial, increased 17% to $968,018.79. Total real estate volume, again both residential and commercial, was $5.5 billion, a 53% increase year over year.”


Register O’Donnell further stated, “The first half of the calendar year figures also show an overall 32% increase in the number of properties sold countywide from 7,502 to 9,889 for the same quarter of 2020.  This is a strong growth from last year.”


For the first half of 2021, the number of land documents recorded, (such as deeds, mortgages, Homesteads, mortgage discharges, etc.) was 103,023, a 37% gain from the previous year. Register O’Donnell noted, “This robust figure tells us there is a healthy real estate market.  I also greatly appreciate the efforts of the dedicated Registry of Deeds staff to process this document volume.”


One more piece of good news was the 26,042 mortgages recorded at the Registry during the first half of the calendar year 2021 compared to 19,019 for the same time period in 2020.  This is a thirty-seven percent (37%) increase in the first half of 2021 over the same period in 2020. Total mortgage borrowing was $12.3 billion for the first half of the year compared to $8.9 billion during the first half of 2020. “With the reduction in interest rates, consumers seem to be more comfortable borrowing money,” stated the Register.


Norfolk County homeowners continued to benefit from the Homestead Act. A total of 6,425 Homesteads were recorded during the first half of the calendar year, a 29% increase year over year. “The Homestead law provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. I urge Norfolk County residents to consider this important consumer protection tool,” noted O’Donnell.


Foreclosure activity in Norfolk County continued to show signs of improvement. A total of 22 foreclosure deeds were recorded versus 69 filed during the first half of 2020. In addition, there was a significant 59% drop in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process.


O’Donnell stated, “While the eastern Massachusetts economy remains on a solid footing, there are still those in Norfolk County experiencing economic hardship, in many cases through no fault of their own. The Registry continues to work with Quincy Community Action Programs, (617-479-8181 x376), and NeighborWorks Housing Solutions, (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.”


Register O’Donnell concluded, “A continuing strong economy in eastern Massachusetts and the possibility of further stable real estate market should bode well for the overall real estate market going forward.”


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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.