Thursday, September 04, 2014

Registry Revenue

The Registry of Deeds collects revenue for the Commonwealth through recording fees, excise tax stamps and surcharges for the Community Preservation Act and the Technology Fund.  The amounts of money collected in these various categories can be used as indicators of trends in real estate.

Thus far in 2014 the registry has collected $9,026,581 in total revenue which averages $1,128,323 per month.  If the eight month total was projected out over the full year, a total of $13,539,871 should be collected.  This would be a 6% decline from last year when we collected a total of $14,367,410.  The decline is mostly in recording fees.  In 2013, the monthly average of recording fees received was $463,542; over the first eight months of 2014, the monthly recording fee average is just $304,859.  This decline is consistent with the overall decline in documents being recorded.  On a more positive note, the amount collected for excise tax stamps is trending upward.  The monthly average of tax stamps in 2013 was $558,363 while the monthly average through August 2014 is $694,434.  Since the tax stamp liability is based on the sales price of the property, this increase suggests that prices are rising.  The higher the price, the higher the tax paid. 

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Electronic recording in August

Again in August 40% of the documents recorded at the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds came to us electronically.  That's the third month in 2014 that we've hit that number.  Here are the monthly percentages for this year:

January - 35%
February - 33%
March - 34%
April - 40%
May - 34%
June - 35%
July - 40%
August - 40%

Of the 4730 documents recorded in August, 1914 came in electronically.  That averages out to 91 electronic documents of a daily average total of 225.  The highest percentage of electronic recordings - 52% - came on Wednesday, August 27.  The most documents received electronically in a single day came on Friday, August 29 with 152.  The highest daily document total came on Friday, August 15 with 369 documents.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

August recording statistics

Here's a look at the total number of various types of documents that were recorded in August compared to the same month in 2013:

DEEDS - In August 2014 there were 635 deeds recorded; in August 2013 there were 637.  Statistically there was no change.

MORTGAGES - In August 2014 there were 865 mortgages recorded; in August 2013 there were 1085.  That's a decline of 20%.

FORECLOSURE DEEDS - In August 2014 there were 15 foreclosure deeds recorded; in August 2013 there were 11.  That's an increase of 36% (but given the small number overall, it would be best not to make any conclusions of trends based on these numbers).

ORDERS OF NOTICE - In August 2014 there were 31 orders of notice recorded; in August 2013 there were 39. That's a decrease of 21% (but see comment to Foreclosure Deeds above).

TOTAL DOCUMENTS - In August 2014 there were 4730 documents recorded; in August 2013 there were 5917.  That's a decrease of 21%. 

If you project the eight months of recordings to date (34,731) out over this entire year, it would give us 52,096 for the year.  In 2013 we recorded 67001 for the year.  That would be a decline of 22%.  It would also be the fewest documents recorded in a single year since 1991 when we recorded 52019.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Foreclosure trends in 2014

We haven't heard much about foreclosures recently.  Most likely that's because the volume of foreclosure activity is down.  By foreclosure activity I mean the numbers of orders of notice and foreclosure deeds that are recorded month by month.  Below are the numbers for both - orders of notice are listed first and foreclosure deeds second. 

For the entire district:

January 2014 - 14 orders of notice - 10 foreclosure deeds
February 2014 - 25 orders of notice - 17 foreclosure deeds
March 2014 - 19 orders of notice - 10 foreclosure deeds
April 2014 - 38 orders of notice - 14 foreclosure deeds

May 2014 - 29 orders of notice - 12 foreclosure deeds
June 2014 - 28 orders of notice - 5 foreclosure deeds
July 2014 - 36 orders of notice - 10 foreclosure deeds
August (to 8/25) - 22 orders of notice - 10 foreclosure deeds

For Lowell only:

January 2014 - 4 orders of notice - 3 foreclosure deeds
February 2014 - 8 orders of notice - 9 foreclosure deeds
March 2014 - 5 orders of notice - 6 foreclosure deeds
April 2014 - 15 orders of notice - 5 foreclosure deeds
May 2014 - 9 orders of notice - 6 foreclosure deeds
June 2014 - 10 orders of notice - 4 foreclosure deeds
July 2014 - 10 orders of notice - 4 foreclosure deeds
August (to 8/25) - 9 orders of notice - 9 foreclosure deeds

Monday, August 18, 2014

Electronic Recording stats for July

The Middlesex North Registry of Deeds recorded 5028 documents.  Of them, 2013 (40%) were recorded electronically.  This percentage is on the high side of our monthly averages for this year.  Here are the percentages of documents recorded electronically for each month this year:

January - 35%
February - 33%
March - 34%
April - 40%
May - 34%
June - 35%
July - 40%

During July, the day with the highest percentage of electronic recordings was Friday, July 25 with 56%.  The second highest percentage was Thursday, July 31 with 52%.  It's interesting that the two days that are traditionally the busiest for recording - the last day of the month and the last Friday of the month - are the two days with the highest percentages of electronically recorded documents.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

Globe reports Senate Bill 1987 "dead" for now

I've written several posts recently (on July 30 and on August 12) about Senate Bill 1987, "An Act clearing titles to foreclosed properties" including that Governor Patrick had returned the bill to the legislature with a proposed amendment.  The Boston Globe reports today that the governor's action effectively killed the bill since the legislature is now out of session and is unlikely to reconvene to take up the amendment to this bill.  Here's the key line from the Globe story:
Patrick returned the bill to lawmakers with an amendment, asking them to give consumers 10 years to sue over titles instead of three. Patrick’s action effectively kills the legislation since the Legislature, which adjourned for the year at the end of July, is not expected to take up the amended bill. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Securitizing non-performing loans

The practice of securitizing mortgages was one of the key drivers of the real estate bubble of a decade ago.  By bundling thousands of mortgages together as the principal of a bond fund and then selling shares of that fund to investors, Wall Street revved up an engine that demanded more and more mortgages for fuel.  The securitization process had been around long before 2004 but it seemed to have achieved new levels of intensity and innovation (not necessarily a good thing, as it turned out) in the early years of the 21st century.

One would think that the collapse of that bubble would have caused a reassessment of the securitization process as an investment vehicle.  According to today's entry in the Deal Book blog on the New York Times' website, that's not the case.  We now have a market for securitizing non-performing mortgages that are either in foreclosure or on the verge of foreclosure.  Last year more than $11 billion dollars worth of assets passed through this process.  There is an estimated $660 billion more in value tied up in nonperforming mortgages so this type of investment may become more popular.

It seems irrational to use "nonperforming" loans as in investment.  Where's the cash flow?  Well, there is none that comes in the form of monthly mortgage payments.  Instead, there are the proceeds from the auctions that occur as the mortgages are foreclosed.  Deal Book says these funds have been returning a 4% investment with a payout in 2 years.

Like I said, this all seems strange to me but anything that moves homes from the stagnation of non-perfoming mortgages to the potential of new, solvent owners is generally a good thing.