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Market Watch: Deals Being Made In A Buyer’s Market

Smart Sellers Are Pricing Their Properties Correctly
By Rachel Bosworth - August 26, 2019

Regardless if the real estate market benefits buyers or sellers, one thing will always remain true – people will always buy homes in the Hamptons. Throughout the summer, deals have been made and properties have been moving with many options for potential buyers. In the event of a buyer’s market, which many local real estate agents have seen this year, these soon-to-be home owners have more options to choose from. Sellers also need to be savvy, understanding that if they want to move their properties efficiently they have to be priced right and updated in order to make a deal go through. Even the 2016 tax reforms (SALT) limiting deductions of income and property taxes has had little impact on the Hamptons real estate market. As the East End’s prime season winds down, agents share their views on the landscape of real estate.

Activity has picked up with some high-end transactions on the record this summer. If priced right, properties will sell. There’s plenty of inventory to choose from and buyers can really get some great deals, particularly with homes featuring top modern amenities. “Key trends in the Hamptons I think are integrated indoor/outdoor living spaces, with outdoor theaters, gyms, and fire pits, and kitchens and living rooms with glass doors opening up the indoors with the outdoors,” shares Corcoran’s Susan Breitenbach.

As far as trends go, Constance Porto of Douglas Elliman is finding the revitalization of certain areas to have a big impact on the Hamptons. Towns are working to make the place as desirable as ever, including the already-attractive towns and beaches. For Lori Schiaffino of Compass, she has noticed the municipalities are also looking closely at density and becoming more restrictive with building codes. This could impact future valuation. She also says demographics are generally positive and as more people can work from anywhere, weekends in the Hamptons have become a year-round activity. 

Terry Cohen of Saunders has found some people get the wrong idea about the Hamptons, often thinking of it as a showpiece, but it really isn’t. It’s a place to decompress and spend time with family and friends. While buyers have access to so much data, she still feels agents can offer context in buying or selling properties. Finding a broker you trust is essential. “Your broker working in conjunction with clients/customers together will have the best knowledge to help you find your home,” Cohen shares. “Collaboration, trust and patience is a winning formula to success in a transaction.” 

Brown Harris Stevens’ Christopher Burnside has found that while there’s movement in the market, numbers are not quite where they should be. That being said, savvy sellers can move their properties by pricing correctly, and savvy buyers can snatch up impressive properties for a great value. One area that seems to be unaffected by the buyer’s market is West of the Canal, where Porto says sellers are getting close to or over asking price. How things progress throughout the rest of 2019 into the New Year will be interesting to watch.

HRES: Is the Hamptons still in a buyer’s market?

LS: I think we are moving into a more neutral and efficient market with each property being unique with its own set of circumstances. In resort/second home markets, sellers generally don’t have the same sense of urgency as primary home sellers, and can also rely on the rental market to cover costs if their house doesn’t sell. As a result, we generally don’t shift into a full-on buyer’s market here. Having said that, there have been considerable reductions from aspirational prices and buyers can find good value. Lori Schiaffino, Compass

HRES: What is your #1 piece of advice for someone looking to buy or sell their home?

CP: If someone is looking to sell their home in today’s market, price it right and be reasonable when you receive an offer. If you are ready to move on, then think carefully. If you are a buyer then stick with one realtor. If the realtor is a true expert he or she will work very hard for you and know exactly what you are looking for. Also, be reasonable with your offers. If you find what you like, then don’t waste time because someone else will snatch it up. Constance Porto, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

HRES: What key trends are happening now that you expect to have a big impact on the Hamptons?  

TC: There are many trends right now in Hamptons real estate! It seems like there’s an uptick in activity and offers. Certainly, prices still continue to be active and while buyers are thoughtful, they are purchasing if it’s the right fit. Trophy properties, new construction, thoughtfully constructed and priced correctly are now moving. More people are willing to build and do renovations, so we are seeing lots of sales in this category. Also, for a few years now it’s important for new construction to be staged or furnished. It’s easier for the buyer to understand the property and how they see themselves living in it. Terry Cohen, Saunders & Associates

HRES: What has been the impact on sales following the 2016 tax reforms (SALT) limiting deductions of income and property taxes?

SB: The reforms and taxes are having some effect, but there will always be a market for homes in the Hamptons. The elite clientele from New York City has no other choices for weekend homes that compete in any way with all we have here. We also have, especially in Sagaponack, extremely low property taxes compared with other parts of Long Island and other places.

Susan Breitenbach, The Corcoran Group

HRES: What are your thoughts on the current state of the market?

CB: I’m seeing movement in the market especially in my office we are busy, but the numbers still are not what they should be. As long as sellers are willing to adjust pricing, we have plenty of buyers ready to grab them. Listings priced well under $5 million seem to be moving the fastest. Many buyers now want new construction in the $3 to $5 million range, but the inventory is low due to high construction cost. Serious buyers need to know there are some really great values out there right now that haven’t been seen in a long time. Christopher Burnside, Brown Harris Stevens

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