Register Assays A Year of Real Estate Numbers
Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that the numbers relative to Norfolk County real estate activity for fiscal year 2022, from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022, show a decrease in activity compared to the 2021 numbers but reflect a continued increase in the average sale price of Norfolk County properties.
“The 2021 Norfolk County real estate market was down from 2021 in a number of respects.” noted Register O’Donnell, “For the fiscal year ending June 30, there were 162,148 documents recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, a 22% decrease from fiscal year 2021. The number of deeds which evidence real estate sales and transfers, both commercial and residential, decreased by 7% in fiscal 2022. However, the average sale price was $1,212,925, a substantial 26% increase compared to 2021. Total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales also showed solid gains, increasing 18% to well over $14 billion,” noted the Register. “The lack of inventory and the need for new construction continues to push up prices. There are more buyers and not enough inventory. Market conditions and rising interest rates are impacting real estate activity”
Overall lending activity decreased in FY 2022. A total of 33,861 mortgages were recorded during the year, a 36% decrease compared to FY 2021. “There’s no question that interest rate increases and the fact that many consumers have already refinanced are impacting these numbers,” noted O’Donnell. “The increase in mortgage interest rates have made consumers less inclined to borrow money.”
One concerning metric for 2022 in Norfolk County relates to foreclosures. The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has been closely tracking foreclosure activity. There were 66 foreclosure deeds recorded in Norfolk County in the last fiscal year, an increase of 65% from the same period a year ago when there were 40 foreclosure deeds recorded. Of even greater concern is the fact that there were 199 Notices to Foreclosure Mortgages, the first step in the foreclosure process, recorded in Norfolk County in FY 2022, up substantially from 92 Notices recorded in FY 2021. “We are reminded that some of our neighbors continue to face financial challenges”, said O’Donnell. “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, and NeighborWorks Housing Solutions, 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. Register O’Donnell stated, “If you are having difficulty paying your monthly mortgage, please consider contacting one of these non-profit agencies for help and guidance.”
Homestead recordings by owners of homes and condominiums decreased in FY 2022 at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds. There was an 8% decrease in homestead recordings in 2021 compared to 2020. “The comparison from the prior fiscal year is not too surprising where the sales of homes have started to decrease”, noted O’Donnell, “but all homeowners, not just new purchasers, should understand that a recorded Declaration Homestead provides some protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000.
"It is great 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. Please visit the Registry website at www.norfolkdeeds.org to get more information on homestead protection.” Register O’Donnell concluded, “Without question fiscal 2022 was a mixed bag for real estate activity in Norfolk County. However, available real estate inventory continues to be a source of concern in Norfolk County. It’s especially a problem for first-time homebuyers attempting to crack the market," he concluded