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.
I have been suggesting for several months that a sluggish market might be a sign that prices are just too high. As reported by S&P/Case Shiller, prices nationwide have been flat since March, after many months of growth. I am seeing more and more price reductions on homes that have not had enough activity at the offered price and have considerable room to negotiate. The already low interest rates may be joined by a cut in the prime rate by the Fed. Watch for banks that may start offering lower rates in anticipation of that eventuality. The concern seems to be that although there is continued growth in many economic indices, housing has not kept up the pace. This could be the ideal opportunity to buy the home of your dreams at a lower-than-current-average pricing would suggest, combined with excellent financing terms. We seem to be entering a time where cash sales may not be the best alternative.
Of course, this does not mean overall home prices are dropping year over year, just that the growth has slowed. Looking at Martha’s Vineyard, that growth may have slowed from 5-10% to a current gain of 2.5%. This slight slowdown of growth plus the added benefit of lower than expected mortgage rates means list prices from six months ago may need some re-evaluation by sellers. Before you disregard a property based on price in this market, review what the price of any property should be with your buyer-broker rather than what the listing agent and seller determined was a good list price months ago. After several price reductions, you may not have as much negotiating room as a home that has been lingering, so watch for new reductions or those homes that are priced higher than the current market would suggest.
I reviewed all properties for sale right now that have been on the market for longer than average and have had at least one price reduction. I eliminated those that have one reason or another to be less than desirable (my opinion of course) and all are very liveable larger family homes with multiple amenities — some with pools and/or water views. They all have good potential value increases and many have opportunities for expansion or additional structures or guest homes. They all suggest an opportunity to make any reasonable offer and arrive at a price advantage for the buyer and a quick sale for the seller who has been waiting for many months to move on.
Four bedrooms and three baths is just the beginning of what the Island Grove property at 1 Martha’s Road in Edgartown has to offer. What could be better than a short walk on a footpath to Morning Glory Farm for your morning coffee and warm biscuit, or an evening stroll to town for ice cream? In addition to the expansive outdoor living space on a corner lot, three decks, a large patio, two outdoor showers and a carriage house, you have the opportunity to expand to six bedrooms. Another plus is easy access to up-Island adventures without any intown traffic and a short drive to South Beach on the newly paved Meetinghouse Road.
One of my favorite “road appeal” properties is the Gentleman’s horse farm at 670 Old County Road in West Tisbury. This replica Federal Colonial was built in 1994, modeled after an historic Deerfield, MA home. I particularly like the location for its short walks to many art galleries, 7A for their famous Liz Lemon sandwich, and Alley’s for last minute home needs. In addition to the horse barn, paddocks, dog run, and Pebble Tech pool with horses grazing in the background, there is plenty of room on its five acres for a guest house and garage plus additional bedrooms. This is truly grand country-living on a striking estate setting complete with a frog pond and the sweet sound of pinkletinks on warm evenings.
It has been many years since I first approached 40 Norton Farm Road in Makonikey, West Tisbury and took in the experience of walking into this “County Manor High on a Hill.” I can talk about the advantages of Makonikey with two private beaches; one is at the bottom of a dramatic overlook with spectacular water views and the other, you can walk right onto from the property. The only way to appreciate this is to walk in the front door, first taking in the classic Vineyard stone fireplace and especially the wood paneled sunken library which provides a quiet space for reading, games and creative chatter. In addition to a fabulous cook’s kitchen, there is a breakfast room and a grand formal dining room with French doors overlooking the expansive backyard, gunite pool and distant water views.
After multiple price reductions totalling $500,000 and a motivated seller, the masterfully crafted home at 114 Middle Road in Chilmark is ready for picking. I would be anxious to hear from buyers, as I walk you through this 5-year-old home with the highest quality materials, why this is not the perfect opportunity to just make an offer. The advantages of Chilmark are obvious: the lowest property taxes on the Island, Lucy Vincent Beach, and the newly revitalized Squibnocket Beach. The home provides an open concept floor plan, custom mill work, cathedral ceiling living room with an impressive stone fireplace and a fully equipped chef’s kitchen with top of the line appliances. My favorite aspect is the first-floor master bedroom suite with its own library with fireplace, dressing room with fireplace, and stunning bathroom with a claw-foot soaking tub.
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