Real Estate Confidential: What can I buy now


Real Estate Confidential is a bi-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 every other Friday in The Minute.

For much of 2020 the normal trend of vacation home sales has been interrupted by a vast increase in sales of homes more suitable to live in year-round, and work or study from home. My UPS driver, a keen observer of real estate trends (no, really), reports that although the surge in package deliveries on Martha’s Vineyard because of stay-at-home requirements continues, the number of homes with owners who recently claimed to be moving to the Vineyard has begun to drop with the temperature. When the initial trend began, I would smile as I looked back to my first winter on the Vineyard, when the New Year celebrations came and went with no boats and no planes for several days because of a storm, and many “off-season” mid-week days there was no pizza and no movies to be found.

As the trend to a year-round move continues and the median price continues on its climb, the rate has noticeably dropped. Although searching for real estate on a cold and rainy fall day in a summer resort community is not all that much fun, buyers still arrive most every day and more and more are looking to work and live for extended summer seasons rather than year-round. As pending sales continue to outpace new listings of homes for sale, the median keeps pushing higher and higher with young Island buyers finding it more and more difficult to find an affordable home.

The median price for single family homes jumped from $750,000 to $850,000 in 2019 and to $1,100,000 in 2020. As many Island millennials are preparing to purchase their first home, dramatically lower mortgage rates keep that dream alive for those who have saved for a significant down payment on their dream home. The last time I wrote about affordable homes I used $750,000 as the break-off point. This year, that search returned one liveable year round home. I needed to go to a $950,000 limit to have more than a handful of three-bedroom, two-bath choices.

The home at 26 Cronig Avenue provides an opportunity to have a year-round Island home while enjoying a secluded Island life close to water and nature: a unique home on a hilltop setting, nestled in the woods with winter water views and access to Lagoon Pond a very short distance away. The first floor has a beautiful “great” room with hardwood floors, cathedral ceiling, built-in bookcases, and a wood stove hearth. A finished office on the lower level offers a getaway during work-from-home hours, and it’s only a 5-minute drive to the center of town or a 25-minute walk on an old Island bramble with waterfront along the way.

Another home with that same Island feel is 9 Sylvan Avenue, also featuring a private location with Lagoon access. A walking path from the property connects to 16 acres of trails in Brightwood Park and takes you to the Lagoon access, with a small beach and kayak storage less than a half-mile from the house. The balcony off the kitchen with its tree-top views is a wonderful spot to enjoy your morning coffee. This bright, sun-filled home has a lower level with a separate entrance and bath, making it ideal for a home office. The patio off the main floor is the perfect spot for outdoor dining, and there is a grassy side yard and an enclosed outdoor shower. 

The four-bedroom home close to the Lagoon at 42 Barnes Road, the largest in this group, is newly renovated and provides the opportunity for a home business with an office next to the two-bay garage and paved parking area. Two interior staircases lead to the ground level, which has one bedroom, a full bath, and a separate living area, providing expanded home office or home business opportunities. This house is being sold mostly furnished with some personal exceptions.

7 Whaler’s Walk offers a family neighborhood on almost an acre of land and easy, hassle-free South Beach access on newly paved Meeting House Road. The home includes a first-floor bedroom and a full basement suitable for finishing. The home has been freshly painted and has new lighting fixtures and hardware. Town sewer permits are in place and allow for significant expansion possibilities that include seven bedrooms, guest house or garage, and other out buildings and/or a pool. The convenient location is an easy walk or bike ride to Morning Glory Farm and downtown Edgartown. Vineyard Golf Club is a very short walk down a dirt path located just across the street.

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