March Real Estate Activity in Norfolk County
Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that the March numbers relative to Norfolk County real estate activity decreased as compared to March, 2021, but showed an increase over February’s numbers.
“Our data indicates that the Norfolk County real estate market in March slowed when compared to March, 2021, but has rebounded somewhat when compared to the February numbers”, Register O’Donnell noted. “There were 12,402 documents recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds in March, a 38% decrease from March, 2021, but an increase of 21% from last month.
The number of deeds for March, 2022, which reflect real estate sales and transfers, both commercial and residential, decreased by 8% from March, 2021, but increased by 58% from February. Sale prices continue to increase compared to last year but now appear to be leveling off. The average sale price in March was $1,122,863, a 23% increase compared to March, 2021, but down 8% from February. Total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales also showed gains from one year ago, increasing 13%, and surprisingly are up 46% from February. The March number compared to February may be skewed somewhat by a small number of high priced commercial transactions. Four separate sales of commercial properties together totaling over $200 million dollars were recorded in March. It remains to be seen if this trend continues into the second quarter.
Overall lending activity showed a decrease again for the month of March. A total of 2,399 mortgages were recorded during the month, a 56% decrease compared to a year ago but up 24% from last month. It appears that many consumers have already refinanced given the past low interest rate environment, although the mortgage activity is starting to pick up from earlier this year, perhaps due to a concern about rates increasing.”
A continuing cause for concern in Norfolk County is the number of foreclosures. The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has been closely watching the foreclosure market. During March, there were five foreclosure deeds recorded as a result of mortgage foreclosures taking place in Norfolk County, one more than in March, 2021. However, there were 11 Notices to Foreclose, the first step in the foreclosure process, recorded in March, down from 16 recorded in March 2021, and down from 27 recorded last month.
“These numbers remind us that some of our neighbors are still facing financial challenges,” Register O’Donnell said. “We will continue to monitor these numbers.”
For the past several years, the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has partnered with Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-8181 x376, and NeighborWorks Housing Solutions, 508-587-0950 to help anyone facing challenges paying their mortgage. Another option for homeowners is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at 617-727-8400.
“If you are having difficulty paying your monthly mortgage, please consider contacting one of these non-profit agencies for help and guidance,” Register O’Donnell said.
Homestead recordings by owners of homes and condominiums decreased this month at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds. There was a 17% decrease in homestead recordings in March, 2022, compared to March, 202,1 but an increase of 39% from February.
“The comparison from last March is not too surprising where the sales of homes have started to level off, but all homeowners, not just new purchasers, should keep in mind that a recorded Declaration of 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 said. “We want to see folks protecting the biggest asset most of us have, our homes. I would urge anyone who has not availed themselves of this important consumer protection tool to consider doing so. The recording fee is only $36. Feel free to visit the Registry website at www.norfolkdeeds.org to get more information on homesteads and to make sure you have taken advantage of this protection.”
“March real estate activity in Norfolk County continues to show a decline from last year but looks like it’s beginning to pick up as we head into the second quarter,” Register O’Donnell concluded. “We still see available real estate inventory as a source of concern in Norfolk County but clearly, the market is not as hot as last year. Whether this translates into more and better opportunities for buyers, particularly first time buyers, remains to be seen.”