For the most part, one would not suppose that summer has passed and autumn has arrived with all of the glorious days we have had since Labor Day, however the miles of traffic from enthusiastic pumpkin pickers on both the North and South Forks tell otherwise.
On Shelter Island, the real estate traffic has been as enthusiastic and brisk. In contrast to the summer market where real estate showings can almost be a footnote to a beach outing or a substitute for a tour of the island, customers who shop after Labor Day are generally more focused. Some have rented a house, visited friends or attended a wedding over the summer and are enticed with the notion of being on an island.
A selection of sales since late August include:
14 Spring Garden Avenue – a 3600 +/- sf Victorian built in 1885 on .12 acres in the Heights, listed 3/10/19 at $1.375m, sold 8/30/19 for $1.225m;
55 North Cartwright Road – a 1750sf farmhouse built in 1890 on 3.4 acres, listed 6/2/18 at $1.495m, last listed at $1.195m, sold 9/20/19 for $1.123m;
65 West Neck Road – an 1887 sf traditional built in 2005 on 1.3 acres, listed 5/23/19 at $975k, sold 10/1/19 for $939,300;
15 North Cartwright Road – a 1457 sf cottage with pool, cabana and gardens built in 1930 on .5 acres, listed 3/31/19 at $850k, last listed at $775k, sold 9/25/19 for $760k;
13 Lake Drive – a 2008 sf elevated ranch on .58 acres, listed 4/15/19 for $749,900, sold 9/16/19 for $715,000;
10 Wade Road – a 1758sf ranch on .76 acres, listed 3/22/19 for $695k, sold 3/22/19 for $615k.
Listings in contract include several waterfront properties, high end inland homes and starter homes. Buyers who have obtained financing have gotten incredibly good interest rates from both online and brick and mortar mortgage providers.
In prior years, October is when rentals get into swing for the next summer season. This year, many Landlords are sitting on the sidelines, contemplating new laws and asking themselves whether all the regulations are worth the applications, registration fees, notification of neighbors when the house is leased, and whether they have time to read the 76-page rental regulation that New York State made law, that even legal scholars are scratching their heads about. Others seem to be hoping for an outcome in the local election that will ease Shelter Island short term rental restrictions. Ironically, the New York State law favors short term rentals while the Shelter Island law favors longer term rentals.
With the local election just around the corner, there is no shortage of controversy over every aspect of Shelter Island life, not only rentals but also square footage of new home construction, expansion of non-conforming commercial buildings, septic upgrades, water conservation, consistency in code enforcement, when to mow lawns and even the number of minutes a dog can bark freely. One of the more refreshing aspects of small town living is that everyone has an opinion. One customer remarked that instead of revising the Town Building Code, “the Town Board makes regulations around a couple of complaints–Maybe we should have a ‘S’ Zone for sensitive folks, on top of existing [business and residential] zones, where there are minimal homes, new septic systems, no weed wakers or leaf blowers, no amplified music, no loud kids and no dogs.”
Shelter Island was originally inhabited by Native Americans who appreciated the land on which we live and the nature we see around us today. The things that were a part of their daily lives still bring us bounty today: fish and shellfish, crops from the land and the sun and sea around us. Enjoy this Columbus Day, a day to commemorate the exchange of gifts between Columbus and Indigenous People.