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It’s A Buyer’s Market In The Hamptons

By Rachel Bosworth - May 8, 2019

Inventory in the Hamptons real estate market is high, making it the right time to buy with undervalued pricing urging future homeowners to make a move. With more homes competing in the marketplace, ideal places to buy for the best resale value include South of the Highway, Sag Harbor for its walking village appeal, and the ever-popular waterfront properties, specifically along Dune Road. The sellers have to be smart, too, and price their homes on the money if they wish to move on from their properties. Brokers are guiding that conversation with customers, educating them on the current state of the market. In New York State, a change to the budget increasing the mansion tax makes it more expensive for people to buy, again adding to the need for sellers to price homes reasonably. 

“The market is lateral and everyone is adjusting prices,” shares Enzo Morabito of Douglas Elliman. “Inventory last quarter is up by 83%. Inventory is high and buyers are taking a ‘sit back’ attitude to see what it all means with the new taxes. There’s only one way to sell – price it to the market. You have to be right on the money.”

As desirable areas earn more attention, there is also an increased desire for modern homes, particularly transitional styles with a traditional exterior and modern interior. Open floor plans, an indoor-outdoor connection, and top amenities earn attention from prospective buyers, especially now that these homes are priced to sell. But, there will always be Hamptons buyers looking for the traditional style with the Gambrel roof. Gary DePersia of Corcoran likens home type trends to fashion.

“We all have closets,” DePersia says. “We look in and think, those lapels are too big, those pants have cuffs, I can’t wear this. Fashions change and so do houses. I think our main house type is always going to be traditional, a throwback to shingle-style traditional at the turn of the 19th or 20th century. Like everything else, the tide changes. Modern houses are much more in fashion and sought-after. With less of them being built there seems to be a groundswell of buyers looking for them.”

Memorial Day marks the beginning of the Hamptons summer season. Those who spend their summers out east have their rentals in place, while previous renters have moved forward with the decision to make their South Fork presence a bit more permanent. Everyone has their own idea of what their Hamptons experience is going to be, choosing homes in areas that meet their individual needs. Do they want to walk into town or to the beach? Do they prefer a quieter existence or want access to nightlife? How about tennis or throwing parties? As the temperatures increase, so does the activity and interest. Hamptons properties will always be in demand, and real estate agents answer the burning questions on the real market as we head into the busiest season. As Town & Country’s Judi Desiderio says, “We have had a quiet winter. Spring has sprung with more interest.”

HRES: How does the mood of the Hamptons real estate market differ from last year at this time?

GD: The mood is optimistic. Buyers are recognizing there are some great values out there, as long as they’re not trying to time the market, which can be dangerous. People are seeing tremendous value in price reductions across the board. Buyers who have rented in the past are stepping up and buying something. People wait years to buy the perfect house. If they bought something with 85 to 90% of the key things they want, they could enjoy it now and have a better understanding of how they would use their Hamptons home. I applaud those who make the decision to buy, live in a house, and then maybe move onto something else. 

Gary DePersia, Corcoran

HRES: In what price range is inventory scarcest right now?

HG: Quality homes around $5 million or less seem to be in demand across all Hamptons towns and villages. Move-in ready homes listed around that $5 million price point are getting a lot of attention and are not lasting long on the market. As always, properties priced well for the market will sell.

Harald Grant, Sotheby’s International Realty

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

JD: We have many markets within our market. For the most part, statistics shows us that business has ebbed. The net result in most markets is that it’s a buyer’s market. Others are more balanced and select few favor the sellers. The driver is based on the old scales of supply and demand. On the high end, there is an inventory swell, opening up opportunities for buyers to ‘go shopping’ and get some incredible deals. Conversely, if you are looking for affordable homes in good shape, stand in line. The allure of summer in the Hamptons is alive and well.

Judi Desiderio, Town & Country

HRES: What areas in the Hamptons have the best resale value at the moment?  

EM: If you’re looking for resale values with sure bets, those are any villages you can walk into town. There seems to be a movement for people getting close to villages. Sag Harbor is blazing hot. Westhampton Beach has also really picked up and land value has gone up radically. You used to be able to find a house in the village for around $500k and now you’re spending close to $700k. People want to walk into a village. Waterfront is always great, specifically on Dune Road, west of the canal. It’s been undervalued for a while. 

Enzo Morabito, Douglas Elliman

HRES: Modern homes seem to be popular among builders and buyers, why do you think that is?

CS: A modern beach home is a symbol of freedom historically and is deeply rooted in our Hamptons’ past. Think of the experimental works of Peter Blake and the Neskis, Robert Rosenberg, Geller and Gwathmey, etc. It’s been a way to connect to our natural setting with expansive glass walls and open floor plans allowing a less-is-more, free-spirited way of living. A minimalist environment leaves us with more time for nature, family and friends, which is the true spirit of wealth. The modern home offers builders an opportunity to showcase their talents with rigorous detail and integrity, using experimental materials and processes towards a more sustainable outcome. 

Caroline Sarraf, Compass

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