August 27 — Your Topretirements editor was just in Nantucket for a whirlwind vacation. This island retreat is the summer vacation hot spot, particularly among those who live nearby (think New England), or with very big checkbooks. To get here you can take the ferry, always a great ride on a beautiful day, or fly. If Queequeg, the chief harpooner in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, came back to visit Nantucket he would probably recognize many of the buildings, but not the people. The town is crawling with very prosperous tourists and families, many with young children in tow. No place on earth could be cuter, more charming, prosperous – or expensive. Shop after shop offers beautiful baubles and expensive pieces of art. The beaches, bike trails, shops and restaurants are all wonderful too. If you have the means and you dream of island living, Nantucket (ACK) might be your retirement spot.
Like any market that depends on 2nd home sales, the Nantucket real estate market is soft in 2010. Real estate professionals say the low end of the market (as in below $1.5 million) is Ok, and so is the upper end (it is quite easy to find properties over $20 million). The middle market and rental markets are struggling.
While there we had the opportunity to speak with Gary Winn, principal broker at Maury People Sotheby’s International Realty about what it is like to retire to this island paradise. Gary related that indeed Nantucket is a very popular place for wealthy folks to enjoy a 3 season retirement (in fact his mother has retired here). Nantucket, he pointed out: “is never going to be on anyone’s list of affordable retirement spots.” Most retirees tend to live in or near town, making it easy to walk or bike anywhere (but don’t try biking on the streets that are cobblestoned!). Almost everyone who retires here comes for part of the year – perhaps April 15 to November or December. January through March, though quiet, are not very nice weather-wise. Most of these island retirees live somewhere else during these cold winter months, often Palm Beach, Boca Raton, or the like.
Echoing what others have said about the Nantucket market, he points out that homes here are very, very expensive. The Sotheby’s median selling price is about $3 million (on the high side compared to most other brokers), since it specializes in the luxury market.
To help prove what we are saying about Nantucket’s charm, please find some of our photos: