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What does luxury real estate mean on Martha's Vineyard?

103 Main Street, Vineyard Haven.


Real Estate Confidential is a weekly chit chat about new listings, sales, or other insider info on the Martha’s Vineyard real estate market, by Fred Roven, Martha’s Vineyard Buyer Agents. It appears each Friday in The Minute.

When I think of luxury, the first thought that comes to mind is the bedroom. The concept of sleeping on anything but pressed linen is unfathomable. Pillows and duvet must be of 100% imported white goose down and covered with matching linen shams. The linens can be hem-stitched or embroidered but all about the look and feel. But, I digress ….

Luxury is often described as the top 10% of a given real estate market. On Martha’s Vineyard that means homes over $6 million at present. Although there are some exceptions, luxury here is conscious living. It is more about architecture that blends into the land and not about anything overtly ostentatious. You see will homeowners spending extravagantly (but deliberately) on architect-designed outdoor showers or meditation gardens with spectacular ocean views, rather than spending because of concern over “street appeal” and possibly even location.

One of the best-identifying features of a luxury real estate property is its views. Most if not all the homes classified as luxury on Martha’s Vineyard have some form of direct connection to the ocean, whether waterfront, water views, or expansive distant views with access to private beaches. Since most luxury waterfront homes are used primarily in warm months, the water can be everything. The best investment you can make in terms of longevity — and my favorite locations — have views and access to a pond overlooking the ocean; you get to paddle to your own piece of paradise. Privacy is a huge concern and luxury home buyers want their home to be a true escape.

After water access, bathrooms, kitchens and indoor-outdoor living are next in the list of priorities with indoor spaces that can easily transition to outdoor retreats with just a slide of a glass door or wall. Outdoor kitchens have become works of art and outdoor living provides an escape from the confines of the home and offer the best views while relaxing or entertaining. You might find fire pits, koi ponds, and infinity pools.

Ultimately, however, the definition of “luxury home” is in the eye of the beholder. Although luxury homes are often highly personalized to meet their owners’ preferences and needs, most share key elements that improve the function and comfort of the residence. When homebuyers search for properties on Martha’s Vineyard, residences with those key features hit the top of the tour list, time and time again.

I would rank the top five luxury home requirements on Martha’s Vineyard:


  • Customizable Open Floor Plan
  • High-Tech Smart Appliances
  • Full-Size Sport Courts and Swimming Pool
  • Fully-Equipped Outdoor Kitchen Space
  • Outdoor Showers & A Private Oasis


Everyone’s concept of luxury is a bit different but everyone knows luxury when they see it. What is a luxury home and who decides? As I looked through homes currently in the defined category, I found a wide range attributes that fit our model. I found a waterfront estate offering dramatic views, sandy beach and multiple dwellings plus picturesque gardens leading to the sanctuary like pool and spa priced at $30,000,000.

There is an in-town waterfront home overlooking the harbor that offers privacy and still provides a tremendous amount of room on the water side for a patio with built in grill, pool with gracious surroundings and a broad lawn that rolls directly to the water, priced at $13,500,000. And a multi-year collaboration of architect, interior designer, builder and owners created a home beyond stunning — this collective genius created a home which is exciting, charming and livable in a private association with 1.5 miles of pond front, 2 miles of ocean front priced at $12,650,000.

There is even one priced at $5,500,000 that I would consider luxury. The property sits just steps from South Beach with ocean views, a pool, and many outdoor sporting areas. This stunning home is the perfect blend of seaside comfort and classic sophistication. The home is beautifully appointed and the outside amenities create a resort-like compound.

A complete list of my picks of luxury homes currently on the market can be viewed at The Good Life.

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