A trend we often see in the Nantucket Real Estate market is that of a domino effect. There will be a handful of like-kind homes on the market for weeks, months, or years in some cases, and it can create a perceived lack of demand. This perception decreases the urgency from buyers until one or two of the marquee homes go under contract, which often initiates a feeding frenzy for the remaining properties that previously had relatively little activity.
In recent years, before our market surged, we have seen this activity exist in Sconset, in Surfside, and most recently in Miacomet on Ellen’s Way, among other locations. Generally, this demand has occurred in the $3,000,000 – $5,000,000 price range and did not extend to the ultra-high-end of the market. The idea was that these mid-market homes were replaceable until the buyer got nervous that they weren’t, and the domino effect set in.
At the ultra-high-end, we did not have enough demand to generate this trend, and the average time on the market was much longer than for other homes. The idea was that the sellers were more patient, and the buyers were slower and more thoughtful in their purchase decisions as most of these homes required a significant amount of reinvestment of capital, as we very rarely see newer homes in this market.
Enter Easton Street into the conversation, and in my opinion, we have the most interesting narrative of the 2021 market. Easton Street historically has held the most desirable real estate on Nantucket. It is one of the few locations that offer you direct access to the water (often including a dock), big views, and easy access to town. However, In recent years, buyers have sought more estate-focused properties which offer privacy and the ability for pools. As a result, the demand on Easton Street stalled as sellers continued to list their properties. The properties at 16 Easton Street and 22/24 Easton Street were on the market for 4-5 years before gaining traction, and at one point, nine out of thirteen properties were for sale on the street in a calendar year.
At the very end of 2020, we saw 22/24 Easton Street sell, which was the largest lot, sub-dividable, and had a dock. The sale of this marquee property started the domino effect on Easton Street, and by the close of 2021, we saw eight separate properties sell between $6,500,000 and $16,250,000. If we include the sales of 22/24 Easton in our numbers, a total of ten properties sold in less than a year. More importantly, two of those transactions were the sales of either side of a duplex. If you consider the duplex transactions as a whole, that property sold in its entirety for $32,500,000, a high-water mark in Nantucket Real Estate.
While 2021 was a superb year in Nantucket Real Estate by every measure, the years preceding it were significant as well. We continued to break record after record in our market, so why the unprecedented demand in this forgotten location in such a short period? My only explanation is the Domino Effect. Since the location was out of favor, buyers needed other buyers to prove there was still demand in the once generational location. Once the demand was established, there was a full-on frenzy to acquire property in such a special and unique portion of the Island.
While we have some of the most sophisticated and successful buyers in our market, it’s incredibly intriguing to me that these buyers are somewhat reactionary to the effects of the market and not as forward-thinking as one might expect. My perception is that to get ahead of the market today or in the future, it is crucial to seek out desirable locations and amenities in order to have the comfort of being the first moved in the market.