Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Annual Report of the Norfolk County Registry Of Deeds - FY 2021

Note: FY 2021 is last year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The report was prepared to cover the business for the FY 2021 period. This year’s report FY 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) is in preparation now and is normally available for distribution at the polls for the November election. Updated - 08/15/22

Fiscal year 2021 was an extraordinary year in all our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted all of us. Certainly, some were impacted worse than others. Lives were disrupted with some losing loved ones, small businesses scaled back or in worse case scenarios closed for good. While many sectors of our economy were impacted by the pandemic, I am pleased to report the Norfolk County real estate economy was able to remain viable following the COVID-10 state of emergency declared by Governor Baker on March 10, 2020.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I am proud to report the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds was able to remain open operationally for the recording of land documents. While the Registry of Deeds building was closed to the general public, Registry personnel were able to continue recording land documents. We utilized social distancing, split work shifts, remote access, and used our disaster recovery site to record documents. We also utilized electronic recording for our institutional users such as banks, law firms and title companies. In addition to electronic recording, users had the option to submit documents via regular mail, Federal Express or placing documents in our drop-off box located just outside our main entrance at 649 High Street, Dedham, MA.

The results of these efforts were a viable Norfolk County real estate market benefitting sellers and buyers of real estate, lending institutions, the real estate legal community and all others with a vested interest in the local real estate economy. By keeping the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds open, recording fees collected were forwarded to the state and county helping to pay for important public initiatives including education, health care, and police and fire expenses. We are so thankful to our partners in the real estate community and most importantly the citizens of Norfolk County. Their patience with us has been critical to the Registry of Deeds being able to continue its core mission of recording land documents in a safe and secure environment.

The Registry of Deeds is the principal office for real property records in Norfolk County. Its mission is to maintain and provide for accurate, reliable and accessible land records to all residents and businesses of Norfolk County. The Registry receives and records hundreds of thousands of documents annually. It houses more than 8.5 million land documents dating back to 1793 when George Washington was President. The Registry is a primary and indispensable resource for title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipal officials, homeowners, title examiners, real estate attorneys, genealogists and others with a need for land record information.

The Registry operates under the supervision of the elected Register, William P. O’Donnell, who has held the position since 2002.

2020 Registry Achievements

The Registry of Deeds Customer Service and Copy Center continues to provide residents and businesses with quality service. These requests included the filing of Homesteads, accessing deeds, verifying recorded property documents and assisting those in need of obtaining a mortgage discharge notice. Customers can contact the Customer Service and Copy Center at 781-461-6101, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30AM to 4:30PM.

In calendar Fiscal Year 2021, the Registry collected approximately $81 million in revenue.
The Registry of Deeds continues to address legislative issues to benefit consumers. In 2021, we again filed legislation to advocate for mortgage transparency by requiring mortgage assignments be recorded at the appropriate Registry of Deeds.

This year saw a record number of electronic recording filers, approximately 2,320. The Registry is approaching 75% of its recorded land recordings being done electronically.

Norfolk Registry of Deeds was the first registry in Massachusetts to record electronically registered land documents. This started in the Land Court section of the Registry of Deeds in 2017 and was crucial in remaining operational during the coronavirus pandemic. At the onset of the pandemic, 25% of the registered land documents recorded were done via electronic recording which has grown now to 60%.

In Fiscal Year 2021 we hit a record high of recording our 38,889 Registry of Deeds book. For the sake of security and redundancy, we store our documents 3 different ways: hard copy, electronically and by microfiche.

In Fiscal Year 2021, the Registry processed over 13,000 Homestead applications. The law Chapter 188 (M.G.L.) provides limited protection of one’s primary residence against unsecured creditor claims.

The internet library of images, accessible to the public through the Registry of Deeds’ online research system at www.norfolkdeeds.org continues to expand. Today, all documents dating back to the first ones recorded in 1793 are available for viewing.

Our website includes a genealogy page and a section highlighting land records of notable people – United States Presidents, military heroes, noted authors and leaders in their fields of education, environment and the law

The Registry’s website www.norfolkdeeds.org routinely updates the public on such news as real estate statistics, answers to frequently asked questions, along with detailing of our consumer programs. Additionally, we also write a monthly column for various Norfolk County newspapers and their online websites. We also distribute a weekly press release to alert residents of the latest happenings as well as to remind them of our consumer services.

The Registry’s free Consumer Notification Service allows any county resident to opt in to this free notification service and be alerted when any land document – fraudulent or otherwise – is recorded against their name. For more information, please see our website at: www.norfolkdeeds.org. Currently, over 2,130 Norfolk County residents are signed up for this program.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Registry was forced to suspend its community outreach programs. We are hopeful that in 2021 we will be able to visit each of the Norfolk County communities for office hours and renew our partnerships with Interfaith Social Services of Quincy, Father Bill’s & MainSpring of Quincy, the VA Boston Healthcare System, Voluntary Service Program and InnerCity Weightlifting on our ‘Suits for Success’ program, and New Life Furniture Bank of MA in Walpole to assist those who are in need of household items. We also look forward to renewing our Annual Holiday Food Drive and Toys for Tots campaigns in 2021.
Franklin Real Estate Activity Report July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021

During Fiscal Year 2021, Franklin real estate activity saw decreases in both total sales volume and average sales price.

There was an 29% increase in documents recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds for Franklin in Fiscal Year 2021, resulting in an increase of 2,236 documents from 7,630 to 9,866.

The total volume of real estate sales in Franklin during Fiscal Year 2021 was $46,187,001, a 15% decrease from Fiscal Year 2020. The average sale price of homes and commercial property was also down 18% in Franklin. The average sale was $775.828.23.

The number of mortgages recorded (2,763) on Franklin properties in Fiscal Year 2021 was up 37% from the previous Fiscal Year. Also, total mortgage indebtedness decreased 40% to $1,127,005,689 during the same period.

There were 2 foreclosure deeds filed in Franklin during Fiscal Year 2021, representing a 78% decrease from the previous year when there were 9 foreclosure deeds filed.

Homestead activity increased 13% in Franklin during Fiscal Year 2021 with 705 homesteads filed compared to 626 in Fiscal Year 2020.

Finally, our objective at the Registry will always be to maintain, secure, accurate and accessible land records for the residents and businesses of Norfolk County. It is a privilege to serve you.

Respectfully submitted by,

William P. O’Donnell
Norfolk County Register of Deeds 

The full Annual Report for 2021 can be found

The collection of Annual Reports can be found online

Annual Town Report Of The Town Clerk’s Office - FY 2021
Annual Report Of The Town of Franklin - FY 2021

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