Register O’Donnell Reports on November Norfolk County Real Estate Activity

Mirroring trends seen across eastern Massachusetts, Norfolk County real estate is continuing to experience sluggish sales due to limited inventory of available properties, according to Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell.


Register O’Donnell noted, “During the month of November, real estate sales, for both residential and commercial activity, fell 2% from the previous year. A total of 1,476 property transactions were recorded versus 1,512 in November 2017.  The bottom line is you can’t sell more of what you don’t have.”


According to last month’s statistics, the average combined sale price of residential and commercial property for the month was $936,750, a 47% increase year over year. In addition, total dollar sales volume, again for both residential and commercial properties, was $911 million, also a 47% increase from November 2017. These numbers were greatly spiked by a $153 million commercial sale recorded in Brookline.


On the financial side, Norfolk County lending numbers were mixed during the month of November. The Register noted, “The number of mortgages recorded during the month decreased by 16%. However, the total volume of mortgage financing, for both residential and commercial properties, came in at $1.2 billion, a 3% increase year over year. There can be no doubt consumers are being prudent when considering big ticket expenses due to increases in the interest rates.”  


While the figures were mixed, there are some definite reasons for optimism when it comes to foreclosure activity. “First the bad news;” noted the Register, “there were 17 foreclosure deeds filed in November compared to 13 during the same time period in 2017. The good news; during the same time period there was a 68% reduction in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings, the first step in the foreclosure process.”    


“The Notice to Foreclose Mortgage numbers were really encouraging,” stated Register O’Donnell. “With that said, we need to remember that foreclosure activity has a human face. I want to remind Norfolk County residents that my office continues to partner with the Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-8181 x376, and NeighborWorks Southern Mass, 508-587-0950. These organizations can 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.”


On the consumer front, the number of Homestead recordings showed a small increase. A total of 1,022 Homesteads were filed compared to 1,004 in November 2017. 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, “Once again, we are seeing some troubling concerns in the real estate market brought on by low inventory numbers. The only way we will see a more robust real estate market is through greater inventory and the stabilizing of 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. It is also the repository of over 8.5 million land records.  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.