Nantucket has become a leader in the real estate market for people looking for second or third homes, for land or commercial properties. In 2021, real estate sales on the historic New England island reached record high volumes.
This comes as no surprise given the popularity of the island, its well-preserved natural resource, its free endless beaches, and the most pre-Civil War historic buildings in the country. Also, Nantucket has become a cultural, fine dining, shopping, and art centre, with tens of thousands of people visiting it or returning to it every year.
If you want to invest in a home in Nantucket, you should be aware of some of the specifics of the real estate market there, as well as of living on this particular island.
Plus, you will need to act fast because due to the surge of sales of real estate last year, and the regulations limiting the new construction work there, the available properties for sale are very limited in number.
Here are the essential things to consider and keep in mind before investing in a house in Nantucket.
Living on an island like this has its specifics
Living on an island can sound pretty idyllic, and it is. But, there are some potential downsides which you need to be prepared for.
The island of Nantucket is located 30 miles south of Cape Cod. The only way to get there is by plane or ferry. This means that in case of severe storms or extreme weather getting to or off the island can be impossible.
Also, due to this distance from the mainland, shipments and deliveries to Nantucket will be quite a lot more expensive than to other parts of the USA. This means that you will need to pay more for any orders you make online or for things you have purchased on the mainland.
Plus, the delivery prices will cause the products and items sold in the stores on the island to be higher as well. This includes food, beverages, fuel, appliances, and more.
While Nantucket’s philanthropic and tight-knit community is what makes this island so charming and properly preserved, the relatively low number of permanent residents means that it is pretty likely that everybody knows everyone else. If you are not used to this type of lack of anonymity, this can be considered a downside, too, especially if you plan on living there all year round.
There are Different Areas and Neighborhoods
Yes, it is a small-sized island, but along with the two smaller islands of Muskeget and Tuckernuck, it constitutes the county of Nantucket with different areas. The town of Nantucket is made up of over 20 separate neighbourhoods too.
The Town neighbourhood is the central part of town, where life is the busiest, and where you can go to enjoy fine dining, boutique shopping in exclusive stores, and mingling with the rich and famous. It is also the area where many of the important historic landmarks are located.
Siasconset is a village located in the eastern part of the island, which has a unique charming European-like vibe. It has some of the prettiest shingle-style grey weathered cottages, beautiful gardens, and spectacular ocean views.
Cisco and Madaket are on the west shore and are more youth-oriented. They are preferred by surfers but also provide some of the best sunset views on Nantucket.
Make sure to explore the different neighbourhoods so that you can find a home that is closest to your personal lifestyle and preferences.
Renovating and building houses is under rigorous scrutiny
The authorities, along with the preservation organizations and the local community of Nantucket, are working hard to preserve the historic look of the town and the beaches, wildlife, and natural resources.
This is the reason why there are very strict rules and regulations for any renovations being made on existing buildings, as well as for new buildings.
For example, you will need to follow the building rules when deciding on the height of the house, the shape of the roof, the type of shingles used, and more.
Thanks to these restrictions and the policy of the local authorities, the island of Nantucket offers free access to the beaches, wildlife reserves, and natural lands without any construction.
The building or renovating a house on Nantucket can be very costly
As mentioned earlier, the prices for many products, items, and services are higher in Nantucket than in mainland USA due to the distance from the shore and the limited transportation.
This means that the building materials can be quite more expensive than if you are building elsewhere in the country, especially if you need them to be specially shipped for your needs.
Plus, the available construction workers and renovation workers on the island are few, so you may need to pay for labour imported from elsewhere too. This can lead to a significant increase in the price for renovating your home in Nantucket or building a brand new one.
Every property owner pays a Land Bank tax
Due to the policy of the local authorities and conservation organizations for preserving the natural resources of the island and for keeping the beaches free to use and access, anybody who buys real estate on the island needs to pay a 2% tax of the price for the property to them.
So, make sure you calculate this 2% to the price you will be paying for your dream home on Nantucket.
As a whole, it is strongly recommended that you hire a local broker, attorney, and lender to give you pertinent advice and guide you through the process of purchasing real estate on the island seamlessly.
Maintenance of the home can be costly.
Be warned that keeping your house safe from damage can be pretty expensive, especially during the winter. If you are not spending the winters in your Nantucket home, you should be prepared to pay hefty sums for people to remove the snow and protect the house from snow and water damage or any other maintenance and repairs that need to be done throughout the year.
You can consider renting the house out if you will not be using it
Because a large percentage of the homeowners on the island are seasonal residents and use their properties only during the summer or for occasional vacations, short-term residential rentals are very popular in Nantucket.
Since Nantucket is such a hot destination not only for beachgoers and surfers but also for special events such as engagement parties, weddings, anniversaries, and others, some very luxurious and extravagant residential rentals are offered on the market alongside the more affordable ones.
There are many reputable companies there that offer a wide variety of options for short-term and longer-term renting. So, you may consider renting your house out when you are not using it. This will help you return some of your investments for the purchase.