Top Ten Registry Events of 2013
The Registry of Deeds Modernization and Efficiency Commission which was created by Chapter 165 of the Acts of 2012 met numerous times throughout the year and completed its final report which will be submitted to the state legislature in January 2014.
The volume of documents processed by electronic recording reached 40% on several months and will account for 37% of all documents recorded in 2013.
The number of foreclosures in 2013 was down by more than 50% from 2012. The number of deeds was up 15%. The number of mortgages recorded for the year was down 8% but the mortgage numbers dropped substantially – by more than 50% per month – towards the end of the year signaling a near collapse of the refinancing market.
The Supreme Judicial Court issued a decision in HSBC Bank v Matt that interpreted the Service Members Civil Relief Act. The first part of the holding ruled that the defendant in a claim under this Act may only raise his or her status as a member of the U.S. military in the case and other claims, such as the propriety of the foreclosure or of the mortgage are not properly raised in such a case. The second part of the holding was that the plaintiff must be in possession of the mortgage sought to be foreclosed prior to filing suit under this act.
Attorney General Martha Coakley and her office continued to assist communities hit hard by foreclosures by offering a Distressed Properties Identification and Relocation Grant to gateway cities most affected by the real estate collapse. The city of Lowell applied for and received a grant under this program.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went into full operation and issued a number of new regulations related to disclosures and the paperwork requirements on consumer mortgages that will have a big impact on future home loans.
Due primarily to a large number of claims resulting from hurricanes and other major storms, the federal government has recalculated flood insurance premiums and redrawn flood maps, both of which will have a significant impact on those living in flood areas who have federally insured mortgages. Many Lowell residents, including most condominium owners in downtown, will see substantial increases in their flood insurance premiums in the coming months.
The terrorist bombing of the Boston Marathon on Patriot’s Day had an indirect impact on everyone in the region although the Middlesex North Registry was not within the zone that was required to “shelter in place” during the search for the suspects.
In February, a snowfall of 22 inches forced the registry to close and led to a statewide ban on driving imposed by Governor Patrick.
On October 30, 2013, the Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series for the third time in the past ten years.
Last week I wrote that I would post similar lists from years past. I'll do that during the first few weeks of 2014.