The Howe parcel at 4 South Abels Hill Road in Chilmark sold last week. This is a strong sale which gives key information for the Chilmark land market. This 1.2-acre parcel had strong water views and easy walk to Abel’s Hill ocean beach. The property was originally listed for sale in July 2008 at an asking price of $2,250,000. Due to the economic collapse in 2008 and perhaps the parcel’s location on South Road, this property was on and off the market for several years. It was finally listed in January 2013 at $1,695,000 and sold 6/4/14 for $1,500,000.
“No one with cancer needs to be alone.” This is the mission statement of the Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group. Hosting their Evening Under the Stars event Thursday evening, May 15th, members and supporters mingled, wined and dined at Farm Neck Golf Club to celebrate over 26 years of helping Islanders with cancer get through their challenges.
The café was a perfect setting for people to enjoy an evening with a lively crowd of folks who recognize how important MVCSG is for our island. The buffet dinner was delicious and Mike Benjamin’s live performance was excellent as always. But the highlight was really thanking the devoted team that selflessly contributes their time and intelligence to making this non-profit organization so successful.
As Jane Carroll explained, it’s frightening enough to get a cancer diagnosis- this is a traumatic experience, but additionally, to bear the costs associated with various medical appointments and treatments is daunting.
MVCSG focuses on relieving some of these strains for islanders with cancer. They offer programs that allow for discounted ferry rates, as well as transportation to and from Woods Hole to Falmouth Hospital or particular doctors’ offices off island. There is financial support for families whose income has been compromised due to loss of wages while recuperating or expensive co-pays. Basically, if an individual or family can be helped, they can concentrate on getting well.
There is also a weekly support group meeting that takes place every Wednesday at noon at the library of the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven. The philosophy is that “every illness holds a lesson for us to learn” and that we can encourage and support each other through our shared experiences.
There is no doubt that MV CANCER SUPPORT GROUP is a wonderful organization that has grown and evolved over the years. They sponsor a tennis tournament in July and a pancake breakfast in August.
Another transition new Martha’s Vineyard home owners experience when spending time on island is the role of the ferry. As a vacationer it is almost competitive to acquire the perfect reservations to arrive and depart on Saturdays in August. The Bourne Bridge, the rotaries, the green Steamship Authority signs all trigger the anticipation for the Vineyard… Kids are bouncing in the back seat and parents are smug that they are pulling into the terminal at just the right time, not too early but with time to use the bathroom, pick up a schedule, and buy an ice cream cone.
New home owners soon discover that the ferry is a busy and critical part of island life. We need it to get to medical facilities, schools, sports events, Logan airport, museums, restaurants, concerts, conferences, and shopping.
Although there are many enjoyable reasons to be on the ferry going off island, the boat is a necessary part of many islanders’ and non islanders’ lives. There are a substantial number of commuters that travel in both directions for work. Some have the same seat or group with whom they have coffee or beer depending on the time of day, while others prefer to enjoy their solitude and read the paper.
Another winter ritual on Island is having dinner at the Newes Friday evenings with Mike Benjamin. Formally called The Newes from America Pub at the Kelly House, this Edgartown pub and restaurant is popular for all the right reasons. The building is one of the oldest on the Vineyard, built in 1742, and its exposed bricks, warm hearth and colonial character beckon people right in.
The real estate market on Martha’s Vineyard remained essentially flat in 2013 compared with 2012. The number of properties sold in 2013 decreased just 1% to 502, total dollar volume decreased similarly 1.5% to $472mm, and average sales price fell just 0.6% to $941,000.
This is in contrast to the national housing market, which saw home prices post the highest annual gains in eight years (Yale economist Howard Shiller, December 2013). While the Vineyard, a vacation destination, did not see the heated activity of some first-home markets (New York City, San Francisco), it did maintain the gains it made in 2012. This is particularly significant, as 2012 was a recovery year where the Vineyard real estate market finally showed significant signs of health. Dollar volume in 2012 was at its highest level since 2007 and total transactions were at a level higher than we’d seen since 2005.
After the recession in 2008, and some false starts, it appears that the Vineyard real estate market is gradually recovering. It has been an uneven and unpredictable process. A modest recovery on the Vineyard in 2010 was followed by another downturn in 2011 and then the rally in 2012. The first half of 2013 was sluggish, well behind 2012 first half performance. The lower number of transactions in early 2013 was not surprising, given the intense activity and record number of transactions at the end of 2012 (some propelled by uncertainty about the capital gains tax). Still, the slow start of 2013 suggested more of a roller coaster ride to come. That the market caught up in the second half of 2013 to hold just barely at 2012 levels is positive news. It suggests a slow but steady recovery, now consolidated over two years.
One of the gratifying aspects of being in real estate on the Vineyard is watching new home owners plunge into island life. Often focused on making changes to their new property, they need recommendations for builders, landscapers, or painters, and have an excited energy in making the property “theirs”.