Sponsored: Real Estate Confidential: The Islander vs. Investor Struggle


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

There is a pitched battle happening right here on Martha’s Vineyard and it is not in the MV Times comment section or on Islanders Talk. It is typical of real estate markets in nearly every resort community in the country. The struggle for housing between investors and local residents is not a new story. What is new is investor belief that real estate has become a more secure investment than in past years, coupled with low interest rates that make housing more accessible for locals, which has created more demand for a smaller and smaller selection of homes.

However, as the battle heats, pushing prices to ever higher levels, a seller — even one who would like to help out a struggling Island family — can be sorely tempted by a high cash offer from an investor. The Vineyard, fortunately, has a number of opportunities to help, beginning with affordable housing groups, deed restrictions and cluster zoning. 

The struggle for available homes can be a double edged sword, however. Possibly because of a short summer season, weekly rentals are better suited to summer residents who want the extra income to help with the enjoyment of their summer home. Most real estate investors on the Vineyard make their properties available to Islanders as year-round rentals, which helps relieve a bit of the struggle for year-round housing, but does not help a growing Island family (with possibly one primary source of income) to afford many Vineyard homes.

What was the lowest priced, liveable three bedroom home at $550,000 on Martha’s Vineyard sold within a few days of it being listed for sale. The lowest priced three bedroom homes today start at just under $600,000 (two) and there are only eight under $700,000. The median price of what I would consider an Island income affordable home is $850,000. If you consider it is getting more and more difficult for a builder to offer a new home for under $1,000,000, what happens in the coming years? The point is, buy as soon as you are able and act quickly when you have found the right house.

One of my favorites for a family is 54 Snake Hollow in Vineyard Haven as it sits on close to an acre of open land where a growing family could play. Even the three-bedroom house has room to grow. There is already a five-bedroom septic system in place and the ranch style home has a full basement, replacement windows, and a five-year-old roof. Even the location is perfect for a family. About a mile to town, less than half-mile to grocery shopping, and just south of the Tashmoo Overlook. Enjoy boating, Shakespeare in the Ampitheater in summer, and sledding in winter. 

What is now the lowest priced home on the Island is 384 Edgartown Road in Vineyard Haven. The three-bedroom ranch has plenty of room to expand up or out and has a five-bedroom septic system installed. Being across from the bike path and on a popular bus route makes getting around the Island for work or play easier year-round. It is less than two miles to Owen Park Beach, the ferries, shops and restaurants. The home includes high-end kitchen appliances, has a separate freezer that remains, a hot water on-demand system, a fireplace, and an almost new shed. 

I love giving directions to homes located close to the east side of Lake Tashmoo-just turn right at the blue rock and you will find it. The home at 34 Chase Lane in Vineyard Haven is a wonderful year-round four-bedroom home close to the lake yet private, with many options for expanding. There is a full basement and an enormous detached shed that has a staircase up to a loft. Some special features include fencing on three sides, a cathedral-ceilinged living room; the kitchen has a separate cozy dining area with a wood burning fireplace, and a large deck runs almost the full length of the house with access from both the living room and kitchen. 

The three-bedroom ranch at 82 Pennsylvania Avenue in Oak Bluffs is a hidden gem. The home, built in 1988, was refinished and renovated in 2019 with a new roof, Azek exterior trim, and new windows. The home shows like a new home and certainly has the “wow” factor especially when you enter the gleaming new kitchen. In case you need additional space for family gathering spots, the full basement has interior and exterior access and the finishing has been started for you. From this corner lot you can walk to Lagoon Pond and enjoy all the beach has to offer, including swimming, shellfishing, boating and best of all The Sunsets. 

Click here for more information and other affordable homes for sale on Martha’s Vineyard.

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