Prices Up; So are Foreclosures

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Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that the July 2022 numbers relative to Norfolk County recordings indicate a continuing decrease in overall real estate activity compared to the July 2021 numbers but show a marked increase in average sale prices.

“Our data indicates that the Norfolk County real estate numbers in July demonstrate a continued slowdown in the market compared to 2021 and a slight decrease from the month of June,” noted Register O’Donnell. “There were 10,884 documents recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds in July, a 35% decrease from July, 2021 and a decrease of 16% from June, 2022”.

“The number of deeds for July 2022, which reflect real estate sales and transfers, both commercial and residential, show a decrease of 26% from July, 2021 and a decrease of 21% from the previous month. However, sale prices continue to rise. The average sale price in July was $1,220,594, a 20% increase compared to July 2021 and a slight 3% increase from June. Total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales is down, decreasing 11% from one year ago and decreasing 19% from last month,” noted the Register.

Overall lending activity show a pronounced trend downward for the month of July. A total of 1,886 mortgages were recorded during the month, a significant decrease of 45% compared to a year ago and a decrease of 19% from June. “It appears that the increase in the mortgage interest rates and the fact that many consumers have already refinanced continue to impact mortgage activity,” noted O’Donnell.

A continuing cause for concern in Norfolk County is the number of pending foreclosures. The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has been closely watching the foreclosure market. In July, there were 9 foreclosure deeds recorded as a result of mortgage foreclosures taking place in Norfolk County, four more than in July, 2021 and two more than in June. However, there were 21 Notices to Foreclose, the first step in the foreclosure process, recorded in July, up significantly from only 5 recorded in July 2021. “The dramatic increase in the number of these notices is alarming. It indicates that more of our neighbors are facing financial challenges going forward,” 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, 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. 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 again this month at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds. There was a 23% decrease in homestead recordings in July 2022 compared to July 2021. “The reduction in recorded Declarations of Homestead from July, 2021 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,” noted O’Donnell. “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.”

Register O’Donnell concluded, “July real estate activity in Norfolk County continues to show a decline from last year. We still see the increase in sale prices from last year as indicating a continuing lack of available real estate inventory but looking at the numbers from last month, it appears the market may be starting to cool down a bit.”

The Registry of Deeds is open to the public. Registry personnel are processing in-person recordings as well as electronically filed recordings. The volume of documents recorded electronically for many of our institutional users continues to increase. We are also receiving documents in person, via regular mail, Federal Express, UPS and from the outside drop-off box at 649 High Street, Dedham, MA.”

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at facebook.com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on twitter.com/NorfolkDeeds and Instagram.com/NorfolkDeeds.

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 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 registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org.

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