What used to be a low-key remote island has recently turned into “the new Martha’s Vineyard” or “Billionaire’s Isle.” This surge in the popularity of Nantucket, not only as a vacation spot but as a top-desired destination for owning a second home, is mainly due to social media influencers. Many of them have been posting stunning photos and posts from the island with viral hashtags such as #coastal grandmother and more for their followers to view.
But buying a house or property on this New England island may be quite tricky. It is also very expensive. The reasons are the limited availability of places for sale, the local limitations on new developments and construction work, and the increased real estate prices and sales volumes in recent years.
In July 2022, four of the 16 most expensive houses available for sale in Massachusetts were located on this small island. The latest and most expensive estate, known as Henry’s, is currently on the market with an asking price of $56 million!
Since there are strict regulations for preserving as much of the island’s land for open space and limiting new construction there, the choices for available properties for sale are finite.
Thankfully, you can still spend some time in Nantucket without having to buy a vacation house. You can do so by renting one of the many available short-term residences available in all areas there instead.
But if you are set on buying a dream house in Nantucket, no matter the cost and obstacles, there are some essential things you should know beforehand. Here are the five essential things to keep in mind when buying a property on this idyllic New England island.
Is Living on an Island Something You Are Ready to Do?
Yes, living on a picturesque island may sound like a dream come true, but the reality can be quite different. Firstly, Nantucket is 30 miles north of mainland Massachusetts. This means that it can be reached only by sea or air and only when the weather conditions are favorable. So keep in mind that you may be left stranded on or off the island at times when the weather and sea do not allow for safe travel.
Plus, being so remote means that all shipments and deliveries to the island are much more expensive and slower than on the mainland. The labor costs and availability of different services are higher. This is once again due to the distance and remoteness of Nantucket.
And also, since the island of Nantucket is quite small, the permanent residents there are only about 10,000 people. So, chances are that you will not get too much privacy if you decide to live there or spend your time there. The community is very tight-knit, so for those of you looking to be more anonymous, Nantucket may not be the best place to live.
Have You Thought About Which Area of Nantucket You Want to Live In?
Yes, it may be a relatively tiny island, but Nantucket is made up of different areas with different neighborhoods and communities. In fact, there are more than 20 distinct neighborhoods on the island.
Some are more nature-oriented, and others are in or near the hustle and bustle of downtown. Some are more suitable for families, and others are quieter and more relaxed. It is a good idea to explore your options and choose the neighborhood that suits your lifestyle the best before investing in a house in Nantucket.
What Are the Features You Are Looking for in a House?
Since renovations or new construction in Nantucket are very strictly regulated and restricted, you should choose a house that is already as close to your expectations and preferences in terms of size, design, features, and décor as possible.
The cost of labor and shipping furniture and other large items is quite heftier than if you were paying for a property located in the mainland USA.
Are you prepared for the upkeep costs and the land bank tax?
If you plan to purchase a beautiful home on the island of Nantucket, you should keep in mind that there is a 2% of the property’s price. You will need to pay it to the Nantucket Land Bank, especially if you are not planning on living there permanently. This tax goes for the purchase of land and for ensuring the protection of the natural resources on the island, which the local authorities and community are dedicated to. It also pays to help keep the waterfront and beaches freely accessible to everybody.
Plus, the prices for the upkeep of your property there may be higher than expected because of the more expensive labor in Nantucket. So, be prepared to pay some extra money for the ongoing upkeep of your house. This can include costs for snow removal and other ongoing maintenance throughout the year. Such upkeep is especially needed in the winter, when the weather in Nantucket can get pretty harsh and unforgiving.
One way that property owners on the island make sure that they can cover these ongoing expenses is to rent their houses out for short-term visitors while they are not using them.
Thankfully, there is a surge in popularity for Nantucket, so you shouldn’t have any problems finding customers to rent your space for the time slot you have available. The median gross rents on the island are $1,749, as compared to $1,023 on a nationwide basis and $1,225 in the state of Massachusetts.
Be Ready to Place an Order Promptly
As mentioned earlier, the number of properties and estates for sale in Nantucket is limited. This is due to the construction restrictions and the increasing demand and prices.
This is why you should be ready to place an offer on a house or other property you find and like as soon as possible. This can help ensure that you will get it ahead of the competition.
Keep in mind that, according to the latest statistics, the median home value in Nantucket is $925,100, compared to the median value in Massachusetts, which is $366,800, and the nationwide value of $204,900.