Halfway into 2022, while life has been forever altered by the pandemic, a sense of normalcy has begun to return to various aspects of society — and the recent furious, frenzied real estate market of Martha’s Vineyard falls in line with the trend.

So far this year, 225 properties have been sold across the Island — down from 321 in the first six months of 2021.

For the first half of 2022, that breaks down to 175 homes, 36 parcels of land and 14 commercial properties. From Jan. 1 through June 30 of 2021, comparatively, 240 homes, 63 parcels of land, and 18 commercial properties were sold.

Leaders at the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank and LINK predict a continued, gentle flattening in the coming months.

“The numbers are clearly declining,” land bank executive director James Lengyel told the Gazette by phone this week. “Our projection for 2023 also fits the pattern, it’s sort of a light decline.”

The land bank, which buys conservation properties using a two per cent fee collected on most real estate transactions, took in roughly $22 million on 1,629 transactions for the 2022 fiscal year, which ended June 30. That’s down from $26.8 million collected on 1,792 transactions in 2021.

“The level of revenues over the past few years was a surprise,” Mr. Lengyel said. “The land bank was beavered away in finding beautiful places to consider.”

The land bank projects it will collect about $19 million in 2023, Mr. Lengyel said.

Despite this, Deb Blair, president of LINK, the multiple listing servoice for Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, noted a continued tight, high-priced market, primarily driven by low inventory.

“During the pandemic, people swept in, they bought so many homes,” Ms. Blair said. “These people are not moving, they’re not selling, and a percentage (of these homes) were in the rental pool. Those have been removed. The rental pool has gotten so much tighter which drives up pricing.”

The year-to-date average price of a single-family home on the Vineyard has risen slightly to just over $2 million, compared to just under $2 million at the same time in 2021. The median price so far this year is $1.35 million, compared to $1.2 million in 2021.

In 2022 so far, homes are being sold for 170 per cent of assessed value and 98 percent of the asking price, according to LINK reports.

Ms. Blair said another major change in recent years is a more open-minded mindset from buyers when it comes to purchasing homes across the Island’s six towns.

“In the past, we’d see two or three towns do well, now it’s across the board,” she said. “There is no part of this Island that’s been untouched by this rapid appreciation. Potential buyers now cast their nets Islandwide – there’s no luxury of choosing.”

Data provided by Mr. Lengyel shows in 2021, transactions in Aquinnah comprised 2 per cent of land bank revenues, down from 3 per cent in 2017. In Chilmark, transactions comprised 11 per cent of Island revenues in 2021, down from 16 per cent in 2017. Edgartown made up 47 percent of the share in 2021, up from 43 per cent in 2017. Meanwhile, Oak Bluffs revenues held relatively steady during the five-year period, moving to 15 per cent in 2021 from 14 percent in 2017. Tisbury saw a 2 per cent change during that time, from 15 per cent to 13 per cent, while West Tisbury increased to 13 percent from 10 per cent.

Ms. Blair said that while inventory continues to be low, there’s a “slight uptick” in available properties.

“The hot part of the market are any homes for sale priced between $800,000 and $2 million,” she said. “Those are flying fast. Anything over $5 million draws a whole different buyer. We are still seeing this trend of full-priced cash offers, no contingencies, and no home inspection. People want to close in 30 days.” Across the country, according to the National Association of Realtors’ most recent report, existing-home sales declined for the fourth straight month in May, down 3.4 per cent from April and 8.6 per cent one year ago. The median sales price was $407,600, up nearly 15 per cent from the year before.

“My hope for the future is the amount of inventory will increase [so] buyers have more choices,” Ms. Blair said.

“But I’m not holding my breath, because not much gets built here and multiple homes in subdivisions take a lot of time for approval, so there isn’t a clear, stable path.”