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Nantucket Real Estate Market Insights: May 2020


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Though Nantucket real estate activity began a dramatic turnaround in June, May sales data continued to show the impact the pandemic had on spring transaction activity. For the period ending May 31, 2020, there were 18 property transfers totaling $55.5 million, a respective decline of 50 percent and 31 percent from May 2019.  Dollar volume figures were buoyed by an ultra-high-end sale, the second so far this year, which accounted for nearly half of total monthly dollar volume. As a result, year-to-date figures were off twenty percent on a transaction basis but just seven percent on a dollar volume basis as compared to the same period one year ago. Based on current contract activity at the time of this report, we can see that transaction volume will pick up dramatically in months to come, yet this report will not yet reflect this activity.

May transactions ranged from the sale of a $740,000 co-op sale to the $23.5 million sale of a waterfront property in Polpis that included multiple dwellings.  The latter sale boosted the average monthly sale price, however, the monthly median sale price declined due to lower price-point sales as compared to one year ago.  On a cumulative basis through May 31, 2020, the median sale price increased 21 percent from 2019.  The average marketing time also improved to 6.2 months as compared to 7.3 months 12 months ago.  So while transaction activity was far lighter than years prior, the fundamentals appeared to remain strong.

One reason the fundamentals remain strong is that overall sales inventory remains low compared to previous years. As of May 31, 2020, there were 325 properties on the market as compared to 406 one year ago. This included 239 single-family homes, 54 parcels of land, 16 condo/co-ops/multi-family and 16 commercial properties.  The decline is still due to fewer single-family home properties, which measured 26 percent lower than one year ago.  Between April and May 2019, there was an increase of 57 properties that came to market for the summer selling season.  Between April and May 2020, just 33 properties were added to the for-sale inventory.  We’ll see if this changes in the coming months though we expect inventory may remain light if homeowners are seeking a bit of refuge on the island during these uncertain times.

In viewing property inventory by price point, the biggest year-over-year declines in single-family home inventory are in the following segments:

  • $1 million to $2 million (down 48 percent)
  • $3 million to $4 million (down 31 percent)
  • $7 million to $8 million (down 73 percent)
  • properties listed for more than $10 million (down 44 percent)

In our last report, we mentioned that all the uncertainty in the current environment was creating a bit of hesitancy for sellers/brokers to mark a property under contract for fear the contract may fall apart.  That sentiment changed quite a bit in May (and will even more so in June) as more and more contracts were entered into the MLS.  New purchase contracts in May totaled 18, well below the 31 contracts from May 2019, but significantly higher than the six reported contracts in April 2020.  We can also preliminarily share that the last week in June 2020 saw more than 37 contracts booked in a seven-day period.  That’s more than the market typically sees in an entire month.  We therefore expect to see a V-shaped recovery (at least in the near-term) for Nantucket real estate.