Q: Have any changes occurred locally or nationally that might affect the 2012 real estate market on the Island?
Susan Cahoon, Homes on Martha’s Vineyard:
The international debt crisis has many investors scared but with job numbers in a more positive range and the market jumping up and down, investors are looking for more stable investments. Real estate on Martha’s Vineyard continues to be in that category, particularly over the long term. Again, the political climate will factor into decision-making and my hope is that people will get tired of waiting to live and just get on with it!
Sean Federowicz, Coldwell Banker Landmarks Real Estate:
Stability in a global sense would help. It’s an election year. Things aren’t terrible here. We could use a nice winter. The feeder markets all suffered due to weather last winter but people coming back now are serious. Seasonal and resort markets like Miami are rebounding.
Julie Flanders, Flanders Up-Island Real Estate:
We’re always somewhat affected by the stock market and the national and international economy, but we’re comparatively immune. If you look elsewhere, we’re way ahead of the game. People are in over their heads — they have to get their finances under control. I’ve been in the business for 30 years and this is the oddest time.
Peter Fyler, SplitRock Real Estate:
We hear and read about changes every day as there is always something new that affects people’s thinking and confidence. There is a lack of confidence and an overall mood of uncertainty. The general consensus is that mortgage rates will remain low over the next 12 months. Financial institutions are being very stringent with their lending requirements. Corporations are playing it very close to the vest, which means they are not hiring.
It’s like listening to a broken record — jobs, jobs, jobs. Until people go back to work and start spending on a regular basis, we will see little change. Island residents are affected by the poor job market and many of them are being forced to leave because they cannot find work. That means they are either putting their homes on the market or they are unable to pay their mortgages and, in some cases, simply walk away. Nationally, a second wave of foreclosures is on the move and we will most likely see more foreclosures on the Island in 2012.
Bill LeRoyer, Harborside Realty:
I don’t see any local changes that will affect the Island market. If interest rates hold, it will be a help to our market, which is dictated by national influences — the stock market, the economy in general. We’re dealing primarily with second home buyers who don’t have to buy. Vacation rentals are doing extremely well, which is typical when sales are soft. People opting to rent are willing to pay a decent rental fee without a big commitment. The real key to the market is national and global uncertainty.