Register O’Donnell Looks Back on Norfolk County Real Estate Activity in 2014

Looking forward to an ambitious agenda for 2015, Register of Deeds William P. O'Donnell took a look back at Norfolk County real estate activity in 2014.


Register O'Donnell noted, "We saw both promising and some sobering indicators when it came to the Norfolk County real estate market in 2014. The total dollar volume of residential and commercial property sales grew this year by 13%. Furthermore, the average sale price based on the volume of residential and commercial property sold – which was pegged at 7.4 billion – rose from $618,581 to $706,786, an increase of 14%. In my opinion, these healthy increases were driven by reduced property inventories."


There were mixed news on the financial market front. Calendar year 2014 witnessed a greater financial commitment by lending institutions as mortgage indebtedness for real estate increased by 27% in Norfolk County to 20.3 billion. However, the mortgage refinancing market remains a challenge due to continued historically low interest rates as well as stringent credit requirements.


Other indicators the Register noted that struck a note of caution was the flatness in overall real estate activity in 2014. "There were 10,507 real estate deeds recorded at the Registry as compared to 10,613 in 2013. Additionally, the total number of mortgages recorded against Norfolk County property fell by 31%," noted O'Donnell.


A continuing factor facing homeowners and the real estate industry is the number of deed foreclosures filed in Norfolk County, which were up by 5.2% from 195 to 205 from the previous year. "The Registry continues to work in partnership with South Shore Consortum and Neighbor Works Southern Mass to help Norfolk County homeowners who have received a notice of foreclosure from a lender. This is a top priority of my administration," noted Register O'Donnell.


Homestead recordings, which provides for limited protection against the forced sale of an individual's primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt of up to $500,000, were down by 11%. The decrease could be attributed to a 2011 law which does not automatically require a homeowner to refile for a homestead after refinancing their property, according to the Register.


Register O'Donnell concluded by saying, "2014 was a somewhat promising and challenging year for the Norfolk County real estate market. However, a small but encouraging thaw in the mortgage market coupled  with an improving economic outlook should bode well for the industry and consumers in 2015."


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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. 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 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.