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Posted: February 8, 2014

New Frontiers

One of the chief threats to slowing the ever-improving Nantucket real estate market in 2014 is the evaporation of desired inventory. Today's sellers often have time and options when it comes to selling their properties. If sellers are aspirational they will either hold off listing until the market sees appreciation or they may list the property at a price determined by their own value metrics. Of course, there are still a number of great properties appropriately priced and properly priced new inventory will be coming on the market as we head towards warmer weather but the selection is not at the level which buyers have grown accustomed.

Nantucket buyers typically have location preferences. Areas with proximity and access to beaches, proximity to town, views and waterfront are continually sought after. Some of the areas that offer these attributes are already showing limited supply which is evidenced in the fact that there are currently 13 homes for sale in the Brant Point area, 7 homes for sale in the Cliff area, 1 house for sale in Cisco area and 7 homes for sale in Dionis. These properties range from modest to grand but none are new.

In the 2014 Nantucket real estate market: newness matters. Today's real estate buyers typically want new construction and/or updated homes. Instant gratification is a valuable commodity in this day and age and, in particular, in this market. And more often than not, great homes that have tremendous potential in sought after locations are overlooked due to the time and money required to renovate, renew, or refresh. 

With virtually no new home inventory in select locations it is reasonable to conclude that developments in newly branded areas will flourish in 2014. The locations that will be the first to turn on will be developments within proximity to desirable areas. Proving this we can look at projects like Pilgrim Court, which is a five-house subdivision near the Cliff area and the Westmoor Club. The houses are very well built and two of the five houses have already sold; two more will be available in 2014. Another area that highlights these observations is Gingy Lane located off of North Liberty Street. The houses are large, comfortable and represent a good value. There are fourteen house sites and to date, four have sold. Further proving that location and newness command the market is Nanahumacke Way on the way to Cisco Beach. The once sleepy development is nearly sold out with ten out of thirteen properties sold (currently none are available). A development that we believe offers opportunity and checks the location, new construction and price boxes is Finback Lane, an attractive subdivision with proximity to Miacomet Golf Course and Nantucket's south shore beaches with fifteen house sites. Three newly constructed homes have sold. The homes in this area are priced under $1,900,000 and are positioned to do well in 2014. The remaining and newest larger subdivision is Ellen's Way in Miacomet with nineteen house sites. None have sold but the properties offer what buyers tend to want (pools, modern design and beach proximity). However, the homes are priced higher than the other noted developments which will likely dull the spark;  but, if the buyers' desire for location and newness in a constricted market continues and the sellers are able to put two or three of these houses under contract then, these too may begin to see activity that the other developments have seen.

Keep in mind new subdivisions are not uncommon to Nantucket. Tom Nevers was developed in the 1970s (originally it included a golf course), Surfside (around the Boulevard) was developed in the early 1980s, Nashaquisset was developed in the late 1980's and on its heels followed Naushop. But with more stringent zoning regulations, the amount of land that has been acquired by conservation groups and the geographic limitations of Nantucket being an island there are only so many more development possibilities.

2014 promises to be the year that new developments excel.