Norfolk Registry of Deeds – November Report

Straight from the Norfolk Registry of Deeds, here’s the report on November 2016 real estate activity in Norfolk County…

“Norfolk County experienced for November 2016 a strong month of real estate sales and lending activity, tempered by a slight decrease in real estate sale prices.

Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell noted, “The number of property transactions increased a healthy 12% in November, compared to the same time period in 2015. A total of 1,563 deeds were recorded versus 1,395 in November 2015.

“However, what was a little surprising was a small by noticeable 4% decrease in the average sale price of residential and commercial property. The average real estate sale price for the month of November was $721,968. However, total sales volume, again both residential and commercial, increased by 5% to $679 million.”

Another positive factor was that mortgage activity across the county increased in November by 37% as compared to November of 2015. A key factor in this activity, according to O’Donnell, was the relatively low interest rates still being offered by lending institutions.

While the number of mortgages recorded increased significantly, total mortgage financing for November came in at $1.78 billion, a 25% decrease from the previous year. This decrease can be explained by 3 separate commercial mortgage transactions totaling $550 million that were recorded against properties in Weymouth, Walpole and Plainville in November 2015.

Further encouraging news was seen when it came to foreclosure activity. A total of 19 foreclosure deeds were filed in November compared to 24 filings year over year. In addition, Notice to Foreclose Mortgage activity, the first step in the foreclosure process, decreased a significant 40% during the month compared to the same time period in 2015. Fifty-two Notice to Foreclose Mortgages were filed in November compared to 86 in November 2015.

“These foreclosure figures are encouraging news,” noted O’Donnell, “However, we can’t simply focus on statistics, without realizing the human impact that results from a foreclosure filing. Clearly, some of our neighbors continue to face economic hardship. My office remains committed to partnering with Quincy Community Action Programs at (508) 598-0950 and NeighborWorks Southern Mass at (508) 587-0950 x-46 to ensure homeowners who have received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage from a lender are getting the help they need. Another option is to call the Massachusetts Attorney General’s HomeCorps program at (617) 573-5333.”

The number of Homesteads recorded, an important consumer tool, increased by 7%. A total of 1,002 Homesteads were filed last month, compared to 939 in November 2015. O’Donnell noted, “A 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 concluded, “While the slight dip in average real estate sale price for Norfolk County in November was a bit surprising, I nevertheless was heartened by the solid 12% increase in the number of real estate transactions compared to year over year at a time of the year where typically there is less real estate activity. Lending activity continues its acceleration, which is good for the real estate market. As I have previously stated, an uptick in interest rates could cause a chilling effect on both real estate sales and lending. For now, however, we will accept the good news seen in the November data while we keep a watchful eye on what the Federal Reserve will do with regards to interest rates.”

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at or follow us on and/or

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

Register William P. O’Donnell

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

Peppermint Bark

It’s been a while – sorry about that! This is a busy time of year for everybody, so by way of apology for being scarce, I thought I’d share one of the things that’s been keeping me busy. 

A few years back, a friend of mine shared her peppermint bark recipe with me, and I decided I’d try making it. Well, it’s a really good recipe, and the result was that I got famous among my family and friends for this peppermint bark. So now, December means my kitchen turns into a peppermint bark factory. If you want to try it for yourself, here’s what you’ll need to do…


Peppermint candies (candy canes, Brach’s Starlight Mints, whatever you have on hand) – enough to make about ½-3/4 cup when crushed

1 pound (16 oz) white chocolate 

1/2 pound (8 oz) bittersweet chocolate (I used 60% cacao, but you can use whatever dark chocolate you prefer)

1/3 cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon peppermint extract


Set out cream to come to room temperature. Cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Crush peppermints and set aside. Chop up half of the white chocolate into small pieces (it will melt better that way) and put in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate for 20-30 seconds and stir; repeat until just melted (takes about 1 minute 20 seconds total in my microwave, but yours may vary, so microwave in small increments and watch carefully!). Spread the melted chocolate evenly on the cookie sheet – you want about a 9×12 rectangle. Sprinkle with about half of your crushed peppermints and put the cookie sheet in the fridge for 15-30 minutes to harden. Next, chop up all of the dark chocolate and melt as you did for the white chocolate (in a different bowl – you’ll use the white chocolate bowl again for the last layer). When the dark chocolate is completely melted, stir in the room-temperature cream and the peppermint extract. Using a spatula, spread this layer evenly over the white chocolate and put the cookie sheet back in the fridge. Give it at least 45 minutes to cool this time – the cream and peppermint extract make this layer softer than the others. Finally, chop up the remaining white chocolate and melt as before. Spread evenly over the dark chocolate layer (be careful not to mix the two, as the heat may soften the dark layer a little). Sprinkle with the remaining crushed peppermints and set in fridge to cool completely. When cooled, peel the foil off the bottom and break up or cut the slab into whatever sizes and shapes you desire. This can be stored at room temperature, but it’s better in the fridge.

The biggest tips I can give you are 1) use the best chocolate you can find (please don’t use the melting wafers you find at craft stores!!), and 2) don’t worry if it looks a little irregular. It’s homemade, and it tastes amazing even if the layers look a little funky.