Register O'Donnell Guardedly Optimistic About Real Estate Market
Citing both strong growth in total dollar volume of real estate sales and continuing improvement in the mortgage market after reviewing 1st quarter 2015 real estate statistics, Register of Deeds William P. O'Donnell expressed "guarded optimism" that the Norfolk County real estate market will continue to show improvement.
The Norfolk County Register noted, "During the 1st quarter of 2015, the total number of deeds recorded fell a minimal 1% compared to the same time period last year. However, the total dollar volume of residential and commercial real estate sales increased by a robust 24% during the quarter and the average sale price of property increased an impressive 22% in Norfolk County to $793,805 over the same period of time.
"The figures clearly indicate a continuing issue with the low amount of real estate inventory, given the numbers of potential buyers, but on the other hand it also shows an improving economy in Norfolk County, making it a desirable destination location to both live and work. These numbers are striking when taking into account the horrific record-breaking winter weather experienced in the months of January and February. After all, it is very difficult to sell real estate when the property for sale is buried in 3 feet of snow."
Another significant and promising piece of 1st quarter data was the notable 46% increase in the number of mortgages recorded, resulting in a total of 6,679 mortgage transactions as compared to 4,566 during the same period in 2014. O'Donnell stated, "The mortgage figures are further evidence of an improving real estate market, but additionally illustrates an increasing rise in consumer confidence. The mortgage refinance market is critical to the economy as augmented credit means a corresponding increase in goods and services being purchased by consumers and businesses."
However, one area of continuing concern was a discouraging 24% increase in the number of foreclosure deeds recorded. Register O'Donnell noted, "That figure is a sober reminder that the economic expansion in eastern Massachusetts has not benefited all our fellow citizens. The Registry continues to partner with Quincy Community Action Programs at (617) 479-8181 x-376 and Neighbor Works Southern Mass at (508) 598-0950 to help anyone who has received a Notice of Foreclosure from a lender. Both agencies can provide guidance and assistance to homeowners."
O'Donnell indicated that more people are looking to protect their property as Homestead recordings increased a modest 1% during the 1st quarter of 2015 with a total of 2,032 Homesteads recorded versus 2,015 during the same time last year. A Homestead recording provides for limited protection against the forced sale of an individual's primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000.
Register O'Donnell concluded, "I continue to believe in the Norfolk County real estate market. I am hopeful that the improving spring weather will result in increasing real estate inventory, which will provide prospective homeowners with a number of housing options. The one crucial factor to watch closely though is what action the Federal Reserve will take on interest rates and its effect on both the real estate and financial industries."
The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, located at 649 High Street, Dedham, is the principal office for real property in Norfolk County. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center at (781) 461-6101, or on the web at www.norfolkdeeds.org. Register William P. O'Donnell