Friday, July 08, 2016

New Foreclosure Decision by Appeals Court

The Massachusetts Appeals Court held today that a homeowner was precluded from litigating in a Superior Court action issues related to the legality of the foreclosure process and to the alleged negligence of his lender in processing the homeowner’s mortgage modification application where the homeowner failed to raise those same issues in an earlier eviction proceeding between the same parties in the District Court.
The case is Santos v US Bank, Massachusetts Appeals Court case 15-P-334. The full decision is available here

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Midyear Revenue Collections

Besides recording documents, the registry of deeds also takes in revenue for the Commonwealth in the form of recording fees, excise taxes, surcharges for the Community Preservation Act matching fund, and a few others. Revenue for the first six months of calendar year 2016 is significantly higher than the same six months in 2015. Here are some particulars:

Overall revenue is up 19%, from $6,320,680 in the first half of CY15 to $7,520,323 of CY16;

Recording fees are up 5%, from $2,021,201 to $2,123,125;

The big increase is in deeds excise tax collections which increased 31%, from $3,450,603 to $4,518,864. Because the number of deeds recorded is only up slightly, this indicates that home prices are up considerably since the excise tax is calculated based on the sales price of property sold.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Middlesex North: 2016 Midyear Statistical Summary

The number and type of documents recorded at the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds during the first half of 2016 remained stable compared to the same period in 2015 although foreclosure-related documents were up by about one-third. Here are the numbers for major document types:

Deeds were up 17%, rising from 3018 in the first half of 2015 to 3520 in the first half of 2016;

Mortgages were up just 1%, with 5434 recorded in 2015 and 5505 recorded in 2016;

Foreclosure deeds were up 26%, rising from 86 in 2015 to 108 in 2016;

Orders of Notice were up 33%, rising from 185 in 2015 to 246 in 2016;

Overall documents were up 5%, from 28,249 in the first half of 2015, to 29,674 in the first half of 2015.

Electronic recording continues to grow. Of the 29,674 documents recorded in the first half of 2016, 14,701 (50%) were recorded electronically. About half of all deeds (1703 of 3520) were recorded electronically, but 68% of all mortgages (3735 of 5505) came to the registry electronically.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Major SJC decision on acknowledgements

HUGE decision from the SJC today in Bank of America v Casey

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court answers questions certified to it from US 1st Circuit of case originating in bankruptcy court. For registry of deeds purposes, the main issue is that the SJC holds that an acknowledgement clause that does not name the person or persons whose acknowledgement is being taken is DEFECTIVE and SHOULD NOT be recorded.

However, the decision also holds that an attorney affidavit properly drafted in accordance with MGL c.183, s.5B, may cure that defect on an already recorded document with a defective acknowledgement.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

May recording statistics

Here are some recording statistics from May 2016 compared to numbers from last May:

This May, there were 635 deeds recorded, a 26% increase from last May (502)
. . . there were 1031 mortgages, a 15% increase from last May (895)
. . . there were 20 foreclosure deeds, a 17% decrease from last May (24)
. . . there were 48 orders of notice, a 55% increase from last May (31).
. . . there were 5194 documents recorded, a 12% increase from last May (4643).

Year-to-date, there were 2734 deeds recorded, a 22% increase from last year (2249)
. . . there were 4346 mortgages, a 3% increase from last year (4222)
. . . there were 96 foreclosure deeds, a 37% increase from last year (70)
. . . there were 213 orders of notice, a 50% increase from last year (142).
. . . there were 23631 documents recorded, a 10% increase from last year (21541).

Monday, May 02, 2016

April 2016 recording statistics

Recording activity remained stable in April compared to the prior month and to the same month last year.  Here are the numbers:

592 deeds were recorded in April 2016, a 11% increase from the 532 recorded in April 2015;
996 mortgages were recorded in April 2016, nearly the same as the 993 in the previous April.
10 foreclosure deeds were recorded, a 50% decrease from the 20 in the previous April
37 orders of notice were recorded, a 23% increase from the 30 recorded the previous April.

For year-to-date figures (January, February, March, and April of 2016) compared to the same four months in 2015:

Deeds were up 20%, from 1747 to 2099;
Mortgages were down slightly from 3327 to 3315;
Foreclosure deeds were up 65%, from 46 to 76;
Orders of notice were up 49%, from 111 to 165;
Overall documents were up 9%, from 16898 to 18437.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Mortgage Foreclosures

REMINDER: The Middlesex North Registry of Deeds (and all state and municipal offices) will be closed this coming Monday, April 18, 2016, for the Patriot's Day holiday.

In other news, the number of foreclosures is increasing in the Middlesex North District. In the first quarter of 2016, the number of foreclosure deeds recorded rose 154% (up from 26 in 2015 to 66 in 2016) and orders of notice increased 58% from 81 to 128.

Because such an increase is worrisome, I took a closer look at the foreclosure deeds for properties in Lowell. The mortgages that were foreclosed had almost all been originated prior to 2008 when the real estate market collapsed, so the distressed owners have owned these homes for at least six years. Have they suddenly become unable to make their payments or have they been in trouble for longer periods of time? Someone suggested to me that the latter case is most likely and that banks have just deferred any action on the properties. Now that values are increasing, however, the banks may have decided to go forward with these foreclosures. Although people already deeply in financial distress will be unlikely to salvage their homes, those who are current or just slightly in arrears, might be aided by rising values. If the current value of a property exceeds the amount owed on the mortgage, a home owner unable to make current payments could always sell the property, pay off the debt with the proceeds of the sale, and get on with life. True, they would still need a place to live, but it's probably better to have emerged as an arms length seller than as a person who lost a home to foreclosure.