And The Winner Is……

Chris Perry •


Several months ago, I wrote a column about the local real estate market, first time home buyers and the skyrocketing prices on Nantucket. As part of that column, I asked three brokers to go on the record and make some predictions about real estate on Nantucket for the 2023 season. I promised that I would return before the summer and report back as to who hit the real estate nail on the head.

Outside of the three brokers that I interviewed, no one knows whom participated despite some pretty hefty offers out there. As I mentioned, two tickets to see Adele in Las Vegas might have done it, but I have remained tight lipped for the past six months …….

Until now.

First, I want to thank the silver and bronze medal winners. They will be receiving parting gifts as they exit the stage and their names will remain anonymous. My lips are sealed. Interestingly enough, prior to the column coming out, a few brokers who I approached refused to participate because they “did not want to go on the record and predict the future of the real estate market on Nantucket…..”

That seemed odd to me. In the eye’s of a potential buyer, I would think that would be a fundamental responsibility. Be that as it may, three brokers did enthusiastically step forward.

To each of you, I want to thank you for your time. I appreciate your candor and sincerity. One of the things I mentioned in my 11/7 column was how committed all three island professionals were to Nantucket. Despite different styles and approaches, all three freely offered their opinions on the real estate market but were just as interested in talking about housing initiatives, Town Meeting and the struggles of the local, first time home buyers.

For example, topics that came to light included:

* The difference between affordable housing vs. year around housing.

  • The exclusivity of Nantucket.
  • “Recession” coming to Nantucket.
  • Tom Nevers as the next “Opportunity Zone”.
  • Appreciation in Nantucket real estate is still there.

Having said that, one subject that all three brokers agreed on was to “buy now (then) because the price is going up”. They felt that way six months ago; and when I circled back recently, they feel the same way now. As one broker said, “If you can get in - buy. Nantucket is always at the height. If you can hold the property for more than three years, you will always see a positive return….”

All three were generally in the same ballpark outlining entry level pricing around $1.2 million two years ago, roughly $1.7 million last year and they predicted entry level pricing to be roughly $1.9 to $2.2 million in 2023.

All three predicted inventory levels to remain extremely low. They commented on impulse buying on Nantucket. They mentioned comparisons to other vacation destinations such as Aspen, CO but acknowledged “Nantucket was unique”. And, they reminded me that interest rates are still “relatively low” compared to a 50 year average for a 30 year mortgage which is approximately 7.75%.

Clearly, there was a lot of consistency between the three agents. But outside of a few random odds and ends, there were two topics that brought the cream to the top.

One: The winner’s prediction on interest rates and the Federal Reserve Board’s crucial role moving forward. The gold medal winner predicted rates to go no higher than 7.5% in 2022 while the silver and bronze medal winners were predicting interest rates to spike around 8.5%. Generally speaking, rates topped off at the mid 7% range last fall.

Additionally, our silver and bronze medal contestants predicted rates to be between 7.5% to 8.25% for the 2023 summer season, which is much higher than the present average which is in the low to mid 6% range. While not exactly on the same level as Carnac the Magnificent, today’s winner predicted rates to pull back from last season’s high and “settle in between 5% and 6% “. That’s certainly closer and more in line with what is expected this summer.

Two: The winning agent emphasized and correctly predicted a continuing problem only getting worse. Simply put, first time home buyers will be unable to compete against business entities quickly purchasing any property that becomes available for potential employee housing. For the local, first time home buyer, that is a significant problem.

Add that all up and who is the Masked Broker?

The winner is: Brent Tartamella (Instagram: @Brenttucket) from Fisher Real Estate.

Yup. While he will not win a much coveted designated parking space on Main Street, he does receive the first ever Nantucket Current gold medal.

When informed of his winnings, Brent was quick to point out all the people who helped him along the way but was just as excited to mention a listing he recently put under agreement at 13 Arkansas Ave. in a matter of two days.

“That was the type of listing that appeals to the Nantucket buyer today due to its condition and presentation”, Brent said.

“Right now, you are hearing a lot of people say it’s a ‘Seller’s Market’. That’s not necessarily true. Despite the fact we have historically low inventory, it does not mean your property will sell immediately. Right now, buyers do not want a house with deferred maintenance issues. They want clean - neat - and fresh. 13 Arkansas was that. If your house is clean - neat - fresh and priced appropriately, it will go fast”, he added.

Brent summarized, “We are going through a ‘normalizing period’ right now. In the 1st quarter of 2021, there were roughly 155 closings. In the first quarter of 2023, there were approximately 55 sales. There are roughly 110 properties listed for sale right now. The majority of people who wanted to sell or had to sell have done so. Now, we have moved down a layer or two to get properties to the market. I think we will be in this phase for a while. The message is clear: Take care of your property if you want to sell quickly and for top dollar”.

One prediction that Brent hit right on the head was the aggressive nature of business and non-profits looking for staff housing. Over the course of the last year or so, several entities have either developed property or gobbled up potential targets for first time homeowners. PASCON, Millie’s, 45 Surfside, Nantucket Atheneum, Linda Loring Nature Foundation, and the Boy’s & Girl’s Club to name a few secured property out of necessity.

Brent reflected on his earlier prediction from last November: “It’s a double-edged sword. Without staff housing, many of these business fail to open. But for the local, first time home buyer, it is getting increasingly difficult especially as the entry level price right now on Nantucket pushes over 2 million….”

It seems everyone on Nantucket is a real estate expert. But in this case, there’s no doubt about it. Brent earned his 15 minutes of fame and to the victor goes the spoils.

He’s got “braggin’ rights” and that might be better than that parking space on Main Street.

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