From the Lakes Region to Nantucket

Brant Point Lighthouse, Nantucket overlooking the ocean

I spent a few days on Nantucket Island this past week for a quick getaway. While visiting, I was able to compare what their local real estate market was experiencing to what we have been seeing in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region.

Nantucket offers some of the most beautiful and valuable real estate in the United States. Here you will find world-class restaurants & shops, a low-key lifestyle, and a huge commitment from the community to preserve the town’s history, its long strands of beaches, and open land. Nantucket draws so many visitors every year from across the country and the world. I was reading the year-round population grows from around 14,255 to 80,000 during July and August. That’s a lot of people for an island that’s 14 miles long and 3 ½ miles wide. The island’s total land area is 47.8 square miles. To give you a perspective, Lake Winnipesaukee alone is 71 square miles. Accessibility is an issue where the island sits 30 miles off the Cape Cod coastline. Looking at Nantucket’s real estate market, it appears it had a powerful accent in 2020 and 2021, then leveled off in 2021 with transaction figures close to pre-pandemic levels. However, it seems their market performed like we saw in the Lakes Region. The drop in unit sales was based more upon a continued deficiency in inventory rather than a significant shift in buyer mindset. Similar to the Lakes Region, the island has experienced a surge in property valves since 2020. However, when you compare the Lakes Region’s median sales price for single-family homes to Nantucket’s, the island is literally through the stratosphere. 

Here’s what I was able to gather for Nantucket’s sales in 2022.

  • The median sales price in 2022 was $3.36 million, which represented a 21% increase over 2021!
  • The average sales price amounted to $4.08 million, a record high!
  • Single-family unit sales in 2022 dropped to 286 transactions, the lowest since 2013. This compares to 493 transactions that occurred in 2021 (a 42% decrease.)
  • According to their year-end statistics, the island’s dollar volume for 2022 was $1.3 billion, which resulted in a 27% decrease from 2021.
  • It looks like their year-end available inventory in 2022 was 73 properties compared to 52 in 2021, a 40% increase.
  • Individual home sales above the $4 million price point was amazing. Can you imagine there were 120 sales over $4 million?
  • For the first time ever, there were 3 sales over the $30 million range.
  • The highest sales price was $37.6 million, a new record!
  • Sales under $1 million declined to their lowest level ever, from a peak of 177 transactions in 2013 to just 29 in 2022. Looking through the various real estate brochures on the island, I couldn’t seem to find anything priced under $1 million — hard to believe.
  • Similar to the Lakes Region, land conservation is very important to the community. The Nantucket Land Bank purchased 10 properties during 2022, spending a whopping $40 million, which totaled only 21.9 acres. A little more than 50% of the island is protected from development. But the cost to the Nantucket Land Bank is staggering.

When you look at Nantucket’s median sales price for single-family homes of $3.36 million for 2022 and compare it to the Lakes Region (25 towns and cities) median sales price of $420,000 for 2022, it’s a jaw-breaking difference, especially when you consider that Nantucket is 30 miles out to sea. However, exclusivity sells, and Nantucket has that reputation of being one of the most exclusive markets in the country. I could not believe the number of new custom single-family homes going up all over the island and the number of new remodeling projects. The landscapers were everywhere, getting everyone’s property in tip-top shape for the season. The number of crews reshingling cottages and lavish homes was staggering. (I would like to own the company who supplies the shingles.) 

In any case, I have just finished this article in my car on the ferry ride to Hyannis, a two-hour trip, and I’ll soon be on the mainland. I had a great trip with lots to see and a nice escape; however, I’m looking forward, as I always do, to getting back to that great state of ours and getting the boat out on Lake Winnipesaukee and heading to the island only 10 minutes from the mainland.

This article was written by Frank Roche. Frank is president of Roche Realty Group with offices in Meredith and Laconia, NH, and can be reached at (603) 279-7046. Please feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market.

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