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2021 Q1 Market Commentary

First and foremost, we at Landmarks hope that this commentary finds you and yours remaining healthy and safe during the ongoing pandemic. It has been a long and trying period, and all of us on-Island are both hopeful and eager to get back to some better sense of normalcy by summer. 

The coronavirus and subsequently imposed social distancing policies have certainly interrupted our customary activities related to on-Island real estate practices, but most everyone has learned to cope and evolve with the required State and industry standards.

The mild winter weather experienced across much of the south coast of New England and the persistently low interest rate environment, coupled with an exceedingly low level of inventory have contributed to some quick transactions early in the year.  It is always a wonderment during the early Spring as to how many and from which market segments new additions of inventory may arise to help replenish the high rate of consumption we’ve experienced during the past six seasons. Since many otherwise prospective sellers have been using their Island home as a COVID hideout, there has been a significant decrease in potential inventory stock that might have otherwise been made available. This is not an unusual condition to only Martha’s Vineyard, as the entire country is suffering through an inventory drought.

But given that it is mid-April, and the customary beginning to our ‘Spring Market”, inventory is at multi-decade lows and is likely to remain tight for the foreseeable future, especially given the finite nature of being an island.

Much as the closing months of 2020 have demonstrated, the First Quarter median and average sales prices on-Island became directly correlated with the characteristics found within the current inventory. By far, the most active segment of the market was found below $1.5M. However, as mentioned, available inventory remains tight. And while the higher price, luxury segments still offer many options, pricing strategy within those segments remains equally critical, as that audience of buyers is comparatively smaller. However, laws of supply and demand are most prominent within the current market condition and across the entire market.

For your consideration, here are the meaningful and perhaps surprising statistics from activity realized during the First Quarter of 2021: 


Market Statistics Courtesy of LINK

Last year at this time, there were 289 total listed residential units. As of this writing, there are only 82!  As aforementioned, there likely will be some new listings forthcoming to participate in the “spring market”. But this season will be very different from those past by most every measure.

A total of 114 residential properties were sold among the Island towns within the First Quarter this year, which is only 12% more than were sold a year ago. Home sales were found across the Island as follows: Edgartown-38, Oak Bluffs-27, Vineyard Haven-31, West Tisbury-11, Chilmark-6, and Aquinnah-1.

Median sales prices on-Island for Q1 increased 38% from $869,000 to $1,196,750 compared to the same period in 2020, with average prices also increasing 21% from $1.435M to $1.731M during the same period. These are significant levels of appreciation realized in a very short period.

Average residential property sales on-Island thus far have captured 96.4% of their final asking prices and garnered 156% of their respective tax assessments!

The market for a potential purchase is highly competitive, and not overly flowing with options to consider. There are many prospective buyers who are willing and able, anxiously waiting for an opportunity. So being informed and prepared with all offer documents “trigger ready” for submission is critical within this environment. It is the better priced, well-conditioned properties that are receiving multiple bids within days of being listed for sale. Many of these offers are waiving the typical and customary purchase contingencies, with some are employing escalator clauses. Over the years, the Fall months have proven to provide a truncated "second selling season" on-Island for some buyers to capitalize upon. With summer coming, the ensuing months will better illustrate the number and caliber of opportunities to be found within our micro-market. And those with patience may be well rewarded, or ultimately become frustrated.

Offer strategies have dramatically changed since the pandemic arrived. Please contact one of our agents to help you navigate these changing waters in acquiring property on the Vineyard.

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. 

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