In Massachusetts, Realtors report strong buyer interest in prime waterfront markets.
By Samantha Myers
Throughout Martha’s Vineyard, agents are reporting strong sales. “2015 was a record-breaking year as far as total dollar volumes in sales,” says Alyssa Dubin, of Wallace & Co. “It was one of the highest we’ve seen, and 2016 is shaping up to be similar. First quarter sales were similar to 2015, but we’ve seen a steady surge of activity.”
“We have an unusual market here on the Vineyard in that you have our low end around a couple hundred thousand and the high end is around $20 million-plus,” says Deb Hancock of Hancock Real Estate. According to the agents, it’s a buyers market, but the higher end of the market is in favor of the seller. “Buyer’s are savvy. They can wait and find a property that’s priced right,” says Dubin.
Hancock explains how Martha’s Vineyard’s market remains resilient. “We have great diversity. We’re 108 square miles, and the 6 separate island towns are all very unique in their own right. Most buyers have an idea of what area they want to buy in, before they start.”
Although there has been a recent influx of international buyers, U.S. families are predominant, especially ones that have a relationship to the island. “It’s a generational meeting place for a lot of families. We see buyers wanting large homes and compounds to accommodate multiple generations,” says Dubin.
Recently, construction on the island has been surging, and vacant lots are being sold to accommodate building projects. Dubin saw 7.8 acres of land sell for $3.8 million, and Hancock sold a 20-acre parcel in Chilmark with panoramic views of the water for $5.5 million.
“Rentals are very busy, and that’s usually a good sign of sales,” says Dubin. “Those renters turn into
buyers because they fall in love.”
In Cape Cod, it’s no surprise that waterfront properties dominate the higher spectrum of the luxury price range. “A house on the water, with a beautiful beach or a deep-water dock could be priced at $10 million, and the exact same house across the street could easily be half that price,” says Paul Grover of Robert Paul Properties.
“There’s not a lot of inventory for properties on the lower end of the price point. As for the high-end luxury market, this is our prime time for that,” Grover explains. He says the market quiets down mid-summer, but gets busy again after Labor Day. “Summer houses go on the market after people spend their last summer there, so our inventory is up in September.”
As for Nantucket, Gary Winn from Maury People Sotheby’s International Realty explains the market’s growth from previous years. “We are way ahead from last year, and I expect that trend to keep going and, if so, it might be one of our best years yet.” He adds, “Last year’s average price was $2.113 million and the average sale right now is lower at $1.896 million, but that’s because it’s early in the season.”
According to Winn, antique houses in town built in the 1700s and 1800s are protected from the ongoing construction that the island is seeing, whereas newer and more modern homes are replacing the properties built outside town from the 1950s to 1970s. “People buy here because it’s an island, and when you’ve gone to Nantucket, you feel like you’ve actually gone somewhere.”