Martha’s Vineyard real estate: Looking back, looking ahead – part 1 of 3


Ask any Island real estate professional about the market and “cautiously optimistic” is likely to be the answer you’ll get to the question, “How do you feel about the coming year?”

We posed that question (along with a number of others) to a group of Vineyard brokers and you’ll find the information you need to keep up with our very unique real estate market right here in the weeks ahead. The first 4 of 12 responses are below.

Looking back over 2011, how would you characterize the market on the Vineyard for buyers and sellers?

Susan Cahoon, Homes on Martha’s Vineyard: There has been a fairly level amount of inventory, with prices falling at a rate more conservative than off-Island, at around 18 to 20 percent over a two-year period. Sales are hovering at about 97 percent of assessed value.

Mortgage money is available and at record lows, so those needing to make a move benefit from lower prices and lower interest rates. Historically, when rates drop, prices rise but we’re not seeing that now. There is some shadow inventory on the Island and some foreclosure/bank-owned property. This is a plus for first-time buyers and there are mortgage products out there to assist them.

Sean Federowicz, Coldwell Banker Landmarks Real Estate: While the macro message is that the housing market is still in trouble, New England has fared better than most. Deals were done. Prices are down. Nothing has been easy. The expectations of buyers and sellers are not always eye-to-eye. That’s the job of the realtor. While lending institutions have complicated things, local lenders have been easier to work with. There’s a 35 percent discount in prices from the height of 2007. The industry did pretty well in 2011. It was our third straight year in the new paradigm and we continue to do what we do.

Julie Flanders, Flanders Up-Island Real Estate: 2011 was definitely a buyer’s market. The high end is holding steady in value but there are good deals to be found for buyers at the entry level. For sellers, the high end is still secure but at the entry and mid-level, it’s not as copasetic. The volume of sales is heavier at the lower end because at the high end, sellers will often leave their property on the market rather than adjust the price.

Peter Fyler, SplitRock Real Estate: The 2011 residential home market on the Island was still tentative, moving in fits and spurts as it is influenced by fluctuations in the overall economy and the financial market. In 2010, there were 349 residential home sales recorded by LINK, which included condos and multi-family homes. There were surely more sales not recorded in LINK. The total value of those sales was $369,860,000.

In 2011, at the end of October, there were 262 sales of residential homes for a value of $231,485,000, compared with the same time in 2010 when the total was 292 homes for a total dollar value of $292,871,000. November and December 2011 will see a flourish of sales, including some very high-dollar sales, and a good number of lower-end sales. More sales already consummated will spill over into 2012. However, I would have to say, all in all, that the market has remained mostly flat.