What is the Land Bank? Are there exemptions to the 2% Transfer Fee?
The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank was created in the 1980s with the goal of conserving wildlife habitat areas, wellfields, aquifer recharge areas, marshes, beaches, farms, and scenic vistas and promoting conservation and preserving open spaces. The enabling act was ratified by all six towns on the Vineyard at a time when the island population was growing, and development was increasing. In addition to public recreation, several of the land bank properties are used for agricultural purposes and the organization leases land to island farmers.
The Land Bank is funded by charging a 2% fee paid by the buyer of any real property on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. The fee must be paid in order for the deed to be registered or recorded by the Dukes County Registry of Deeds. Since the organization was created, 3100 acres have now been conserved. The area conserved by the Land Bank is approximately 5% of the land area on the island. All of the Land Bank properties are open to being enjoyed by island residents and visitors from sunrise to sunset except during hunting season in the fall when permission to hunt is granted to a small number of hunters.
he organization provides an exemption of this fee for a portion of the purchase price in certain situations. If the buyer or their spouse has never owned real property on the island or anywhere else, the 2% fee will be exempted on an amount determined by the Land Bank Commission. The amount is set at the beginning of every calendar year based on the average and median prices of real estate transactions from the prior two years, it cannot be lower than $300,000 and is currently set at $400,000. This means that a first-time homebuyer meeting the requirements will not be charged the fee for real property, whose purchase price is $400,000 or lower. If the purchase price exceeds $400,000, the buyer will be responsible for the 2% fee on the amount that exceeds $400,000. Anson Realty MV has a strong track record of assisting first-time homebuyers participating in many of these transactions. In addition to the Land Bank Transfer Fee exemption, our team is also knowledgeable of other programs such as mortgage financing specifically designed for this type of buyer.
A map of the Land Bank Properties can be found at mvlandbank.com
, or by obtaining a paper map from their offices on Upper Main Street in Edgartown.
Our Favorite Land Bank Hike (Swim): Manaquayak Preserve, Lambert’s Cove, West Tisbury
Known by locals as “Ice House Pond,” the pond at the preserve was referred to as Manaquayak by the Wampanoags, derived from Nan-nau-wiy-ack which translates to “safe or secure place.” This kettle pond and its surrounding woodlands are today quiet and scenic. Unlike most Vineyard swimming spots, this property lacks a beach and is less suited to families with children and more suited to experienced swimmers who wish to exercise or go for a peaceful walk in the woods.
Families will find Seth’s Pond and other nearby beaches like Lambert’s Cove to be more attractive. Historically, it was called Ice House Pond and was the site of the Vineyard Ice Company. The ice cut by the commercial operation from the pond was considered some of the best ice on the island due to its clarity and lack of debris, as the depth of the pond allowed ice to form well above the vegetation and sediment in the water. To access the preserve, begin at the intersection of the State Road and the upper Lambert’s Cove Road (in West Tisbury). Proceed up Lambert’s Cove Road approximately 1 mile to twelve car parking area on the right by the entrance to FOCUS, a summer camp.