August Real Estate Activity in Norfolk County
Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that the August 2022 numbers relative to Norfolk County recordings indicate a notable decrease in overall real estate activity, particularly with mortgage activity, as compared to the August, 2021 numbers, but continue to show an increase in average sale prices from a year ago.
“Our data indicates that the Norfolk County real estate numbers in August demonstrate a continued slowdown in the market compared to 2021, but a slight increase from the month of July,” Register O’Donnell said. “There were 11,640 documents recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds in August, a 29% decrease from August, 2021, but up 7% from July, 2022.
The number of deeds for August, 2022, which reflect real estate sales and transfers, both commercial and residential, show a decrease of 16% from August, 2021, but an increase of 5% from the previous month of July, 2022. Sale prices climbed again when compared to 2021. The average sale price in August was $1,107,598, a 13% increase compared to August, 2021, but surprisingly show a 17% decrease from July. Total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales is down, decreasing 5% from one year ago and decreasing 13% from last month.”
Overall lending activity show a continued pronounced trend downward for the month of August. A total of 1,991 mortgages were recorded during the month, a significant decrease of 46% compared to a year ago but slightly up 6% from July, 2022.
“It appears that the increase in the mortgage interest rates and the fact that many consumers have already refinanced continue to impact mortgage activity,” Register O’Donnell noted.
A continuing cause for concern in Norfolk County is the number of pending foreclosures. The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has been closely monitoring the foreclosure market. In August, there were seven foreclosure deeds recorded as a result of mortgage foreclosures taking place in Norfolk County, one more than in August, 2021, and two fewer than in July. However, there were 33 Notices to Foreclose, the first step in the foreclosure process, recorded in August, up significantly from the 15 recorded in August, 2021.
“The dramatic increase in the number of these notices is alarming,” Register O’Donnell said. “It indicates that more of our neighbors are facing financial challenges going forward. We will continue to track 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 suggested.
Homestead recordings by owners of homes and condominiums decreased again this month at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds. There was a 13% decrease in homestead recordings in August, 2022, compared to August, 2021.
“The reduction in recorded Declarations of Homestead is not too surprising where the sales of homes continue 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 explained. “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.”
“August real estate activity in Norfolk County continues to show a decline from last year,” Register O’Donnell concluded. “We still see the increase in sale prices from last year as indicating a continuing lack of available real estate inventory but in comparing the numbers with last month’s, it appears the market may be starting to cool off.”
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The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High St., 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 www.norfolkdeeds.org. 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].