Register O’Donnell Sees Spike in Lending Activity

Continuing a recent trend seen in Norfolk County, Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported a significant 25% increase year over year in the number of mortgages recorded during the month of August. This activity stood in contrast to a small decline seen in the number of properties sold countywide during the month.


“Regarding mortgage activity,” noted O’Donnell, “a total of 3,014 mortgages were recorded compared to 2,418 during the previous year. Total mortgage dollar borrowing for August was $1.6 billion, an eye popping 72% increase year over year. The total borrowing figure was impacted by a $110 million mortgage taken out against a property in Crown Colony, Quincy.”


Register O’Donnell also mentioned that consumers and commercial property owners are acting favorably on low interest rates, and are willing to refinance existing mortgages and utilize home equity loans for home improvement and other capital and personal needs.


On the other hand, August of 2019 saw a slowdown when it came to properties sold in the county. There were only 1,834 properties sold in Norfolk County, a 5% decrease year over year based in comparison to the August 2018 numbers.


However, the average property sale, including both residential and commercial transactions during the past August, was $959,518. Total dollar volume for sales in Norfolk County for that period was $1.2 billion. These numbers reflect a substantial increase compared to August 2018. Register O’Donnell noted, “There’s no question reductions in real estate inventory are driving up prices. With that said, the increases seen in average sales price and total sales volume were greatly impacted by a $270 million apartment complex transaction of The Commons at Windsor Gardens in Norwood.”


In addition to the lending numbers, another area that showed continued and significant improvement was Norfolk County foreclosure activity. There was a 59% decrease in the number of foreclosure deeds recorded at the Registry in August. In addition, Notice to Foreclose Mortgages, the first step in the foreclosure process, was down by 33%.


“While the eastern Massachusetts economy continues to perform well, some of our neighbors, through no fault of their own, are experiencing economic hardship. I am proud of the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds partnership with Quincy Community Action Programs at (617) 479-8181 x-376 and NeighborWorks Housing Solutions at (617) 770-2227.  These organizations have staff that can provide counsel to anyone who has received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage from a lending institution. Additionally, another available option is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at (617) 727-8400,” noted O’Donnell.


Homestead recordings experienced a small reduction in August of 4% from the prior year. “A Homestead,” noted the Register, “is a consumer safeguard that provides limited protection against the forced sale of a homeowner’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000.”


Register O’Donnell concluded, “A lack of available real estate inventory continues to play a leading role in the reduced numbers of real estate transactions. We are seeing some prospective homeowners being priced out of the Norfolk County market and having to look elsewhere, such as Worcester County. I do not see any wavering of real estate prices in the foreseeable future.  Conversely, low interest rates are continuing to fuel lending activity in the real estate market. These lending numbers also tell us that Norfolk County remains a vibrantly strong economy.”     


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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.