Back To Blog

Martha's Vineyard Real Estate: 2020 Year-End Market Commentary

Happy belated New Year to one and all, and good riddance to 2020. As has become customary, we offer our annual installment of “The Year in Review” concerning Martha’s Vineyard Real Estate activities, and what a year it was. Who knew a year ago that the world would be shaken and dramatically changed by a crazy, unfathonable, dangerous virus named Covid-19? Nonetheless...

January and February were fairly typical ‘off-season’ months for real estate transactions on-Island. But the imposed ten week lock-down put a notable dent in customary activities and consummated sales for the Second Quarter. But then July arrived. And did it ever with fervor and urgency as patrons scurried from all areas off-Island to find security and a “safe haven” of their own from Covid. The motivation to acquire property on-Island has never become so profound or apparent in such a short period of time as it was this past summer.

As has been mentioned in prior agency missives, markets like Martha’s Vineyard have been experiencing inventory contraction for a few years now, with rates of replenishment grossly lagging the level of consumption. But the “need or want” to establish a piece of Island ownership was pushed over the edge in 2020, largely due to the ‘Covid factor’. 

Properties that had been previously ignored, deemed as undesirable or unsuitable, were suddenly catching multiple offers and selling quickly. Bidding wars and premium sales prices escalated across the Island and are still present at this writing. And with current demand still far outpacing available supply, elevated asking and sales prices are expected to persist for the foreseeable future.

Many parties re-entered the market during the past five seasons to make their purchases, which has effectively contributed to an inventory supply issue on-island that reflects what is being experienced in many primary markets. But Covid has taken the lean market condition to a whole other extreme. And despite attractive lending rates and increased purchasing power favoring buyers, demand is outpacing available supply. Our micro-market has reached an ever heightened level of competition for scarce inventory, especially within the sub-million dollar price segments.

Here are some facts, observations, and opinions that may help you formulate your own point of view regarding the state of Martha’s Vineyard real estate.

Market Statistics Courtesy of LINK

  • The 4th Quarter again realized a significant volume of residential sales on-Island (comprising of condos, single-family & multi-family) totaling (214), exceeding Q1 (108), Q2 (72), and Q3 (183). Interestingly, during the past several years, our “Fall Market” has become stronger than the customary “Spring Market”. Although Covid goosed unit sales substantially during the second half of the past year. However, with the overall supply of inventory falling, prices can remain elevated or increase. Therefore, this could be a cue for potential sellers to enter the market with new listings come spring, if not sooner. Please contact us to discuss the competitive positioning and salability of your Island property.
  • For the year, Island towns conveyed the following number of residential properties; Edgartown-201, Oak Bluffs-112, Vineyard Haven-109, West Tisbury-65, Chilmark-40, and Aquinnah-15.

  • In 2020, residential sales on-Island were realized from all price segments and locales totaling 542 units, which was 40% greater than the 387 transacted in 2019.
  • Median sales prices jumped 31% from $875,000 to $1,150,000, while average sales prices dipped modestly by 1%, from $1,733,662 to $1,713,632, year over year.

  • Sales prices on-Island captured 95.7% of their asking price and garnered nearly 139% of their respective tax assessments in the aggregate. Each Town has its own relative metrics to become familiar with.
  • The Island is a finite commodity having both geographic and economic barriers of entry that promote various price supports not typically found in many primary real estate markets. Scarcity, location, condition, and amenities continue to be key drivers toward establishing value and pricing. But in this era of Covid, “want and need” have become more significant variables affecting the decision-making process to buy.
  • As inventory continues to be depleted, especially within the sub-million dollar segments, prices have escalated as a function of supply and demand. It is not surprising that within a tight market condition, the better priced, better-conditioned properties are going under contract more quickly. But candidly, this can be said of any and all inventory that becomes available on-Island.
  • Our successful 2020 clients have these best practices in common: Know your wants and needs, identify the market of opportunity, as lean as it may be, expect multiple competitors, and “be prepared to act”.


This past year was unprecedented for so many and in so many unforeseen ways. And Covid has made finding available inventory more challenging on-Island. The next few months will be telling with respect to determining the levels of inventory the spring market may present, so stay tuned!

Certainly, anything can happen, as was demonstrated during this past year. And the Island’s resilience as a discretionary market of desire will again be tested. However, for those individuals who perform their due diligence, work with an experienced Realtor, and are ready to take action, there are still opportunities to become a buyer of Martha’s Vineyard real estate!

Please also visit to view a comprehensive list of all available Island listings for sale. And as always, do not hesitate to contact us with your questions concerning properties of interest, and Martha’s Vineyard real estate concerns in general. 

Summer is coming to the Vineyard, might YOU be coming to your Island home???

    Add Comment

    Comments are moderated. Please be patient if your comment does not appear immediately. Thank you.


    1. No comments. Be the first to comment.