Register O’Donnell Reports on November 2015 Real Estate Activity

Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O'Donnell reported increased property sales and mortgage activity for the month of November 2015, but also noted that some statistics were driven by dramatic swings in average real estate price and mortgage indebtedness due to several major commercial sales across the county.


Register O'Donnell noted, "The month of November saw a solid 14% increase in the number of land documents recorded compared to the same time period in 2014. In addition, the total number of deeds recorded increased 15%. 1,395 deeds were recorded in November compared to 1,208 in November 2014. This is an indication that the market in Norfolk County remains quite robust as we head to the end of the calendar year."


While the number of real estate transactions increased, the total volume of commercial and residential sales in Norfolk County fell 32% coming in at $644 million. Also, the average sales price of commercial and residential property fell 41% to $750,673. "A valid question is how we can have solid increases in transaction numbers, but at the same time show significant decreases in total volume and average sales price. The primary answer was a property transaction that took place in Weymouth in November 2014, the sale of the Fore River Energy Center for $265 million," noted the Register.


The mortgage market for the month of November 2015 showed both increases in recordings and a significant increase in total mortgage indebtedness. "The total number of mortgages recorded in November 2015 rose 11% to 2,325 compared to the same time in 2014. This tells us that a combination of low interest rates and a strong economy in eastern Massachusetts are resulting in consumers willing to borrow money to pay for critical expenditures such as housing and education costs," noted Register O'Donnell.


November 2015 also saw an enourmous 196% increase in total mortgage indebtedness coming in at approximately $2.38 billion. "This increase is explained by 3 separate $550 million commercial mortgages that  were recorded against property in Weymouth, Walpole and Plainville," noted the Register.


In November, Homestead recordings increased by 11%. "A Homestead provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual's primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. Details on the Homestead Act can be found on our website. I urge homeowners to consider this vital protection."


A total of 24 foreclosure deeds were recorded last month compared to 15 filings in November 2014, a 60% increase. Register O'Donnell noted, "Lending institutions continue to work at clearing a backlog of mortgages stemming from the economic 2008 downturn. More troubling is the increase in Notice to Foreclose Mortgage, the first step in the foreclosure process. A total of 86 Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings were filed in November compared to 63 in November 2014. This is a clear indication that while our economy is strong, many people continue to face economic challenges."


The Registry of Deeds continues to work with Quincy Community Action Programs and Neighbor Works Southern Mass to help homeowners who have received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage. Another option for homeowners facing challenges meeting their monthly mortgage payments is to contact the Attorney General's HomeCorps program."


Register O'Donnell concluded, "Reviewing the Norfolk County real estate statistics for the month of November 2015, I am struck by the solid increases in real estate sales and mortgage activity. This is clear evidence that the overall real estate market in Norfolk County remains on the right path. While there is no reason that we cannot continue on this path, there are a few variables that need to be considered. A rumored interest rate increase  by the Federal Reserve has the potential to reduce consumer confidence. I am optimistic the overall health of our economy in eastern Massachusetts will allow us to weather any negative actions."


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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.

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.