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When is a Good Time to Purchase Property on Nantucket?


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Are you trying to decide if it is too late to get into the Nantucket market? Surely you’ve heard the statistics; over $2 billion in sales, retrades at over 100% of the previous sale, homes that were previously selling at 130% now selling at 150% of the assessed value. You might even be inclined to say, “We’re at the top of the market; no way am I buying now!”

Here is the one-year look based on the Zillow home value index. It shows that the market is consistently climbing to the highest it has ever been with each passing month. 

1 Year Zillow Home Value Index

Step into the five-year Zillow home value index, and you find the same trend. 

At any given moment since November of 2017, one could still say that the market was at the highest point it ever was, and one might even have echoes of, “No way I’m buying now!” ringing through their head.

5 Year Zillow Home Value Index (2017-2021)

But look at this third chart: and for those that have been coming to Nantucket for the last two decades, you don’t need this chart to tell you what you already know.

9 Year Zillow Home Value Index (2012-2021)

Too many buyers will sit on the sideline and watch, thinking that prices can’t go higher, or nervous that friends will shake their heads at them and think they were crazy to buy. The truth is, your real friends will give you a little nod and share that they’ve been there and that they too bought at the top of the market. However, one must realize that it is a temporarily painful act that reaps lifelong rewards and that the sooner you take the plunge, the sooner your appreciation and family memory-making can start. 

Take a deep breath and slowly look at this chart: look at the timeline where everything really lined up, and you could have and, dare we say, should have purchased.  Now, from the point at which you should have bought, follow the line through its ascent to where we are today. 

In January of 2014, the Zillow Value Home Index for Nantucket was at $1.41 million. This number has gone progressively north since, and even where it looks like there was a flattening, it was actually increasing a little bit each day to bring us to where, as of November of 2021, the index was at $2,011,000.

I am also partial to our Fisher stats, and you will find a multitude of numbers and data in this report that tell quite a story. As for the theory that it’s always the top of the market:

⚪ 2021 average selling price of all residential homes was $3.3 million

⚪ 2020 average selling price of all residential homes was $3.1 million

And if you jump back in time to our first annual report in 2016, you will find that the average home price was $2.45 million, and yes, you guessed it. That average was up from the previous year’s number, $2.18 million.

Don’t get me wrong; we can talk about 2008 and other real, serious, and tangible pain points in our economic history.  Yes, we have seen points where transaction counts were down, prices were shaky, and for a hot minute, there might have been the word I don’t like using on Nantucket; there were deals, and for the most part, while there are always opportunities and always values, there are never really deals. But, as many of you might know, in most economic downturns of modern times, Nantucket is the last market to take a dip and the first to come back. And when the Nantucket real estate market does come back, it always comes back stronger than where it left off.  

No ferry whistle blows to signal the best time to purchase, and waiting until the fog has cleared is not only too late (when trying to time the market) but also holds you off from starting that appreciation and those memories. Jump in when the time is right for you, not when you think it’s the right time for the market. It is both never the correct time and always the right time.