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Summer Forecast: Active Market Ahead
By Ruth Thomas - May 7, 2018

As we approach Memorial Day 2018, a very active market is anticipated for Hamptons real estate. Rentals have been robust so far this year and sales are brisk. Properties under $1M are going quickly, while the market above $20M is particularly attractive. New construction remains in high demand and waterfront properties are hot. Prices are holding steady, while inventories are historically low. Predictions are for a very busy season in Hamptons real estate this summer.

Judi Desiderio of Town & Country Real Estate says, “So far this spring, rentals are on quite a ride, but they are for shorter terms. Sales started the year with a bang, but then came the winter of white. The high end started the year in great demand, but now it’s all different price ranges. Certain segments of the market are flush with inventory, while others are in need. Where the inventory was flush, there have been price adjustments. There is amazing new construction. The detail and new features are continually evolving.” Judi expects, “the season to be incredibly busy.”

Raphael Avigdor of Douglas Elliman Real Estate says, “The rental season has been very brisk this year with inventory dissipating. Sales have been strong while inventories are historically low, but the grip of winter and some political uncertainties have slowed purchasers down. Prices are pretty firm, depending on the price range. Inventory under $1M is flying out. Sag Harbor School District is always in demand and Water Mill continues to perform strongly. We see the most demand in new construction. There are some truly fantastic opportunities for gorgeous homes in the $2.5M-$6M range. But as land costs continue to rise, it becomes increasingly difficult to deliver new homes for under $3M.” Raphael predicts, “a continued brisk market both for sales and rentals, especially new construction.”

Rick and Kim Slater of Sotheby’s International Realty say, “In 2018, rentals have been slightly better than in 2017. The request for shorter rental time periods is still a hurdle though. Our sales are strong below $1M to $2.5M with Sotheby’s International Realty setting the bar at the very high end. Our lower priced properties are on fire. Overall inventory up to $2.5M is weak as is new construction. We are lacking better choices up to $5M-$6M that have location, new custom-style architecture and are priced well.” Rick and Kim are “optimistic through the year, but with Fed rate hikes rumored down the road, the ride could be bumpy. We still feel that the safe investment for your portfolio is in Hamptons real estate.”

Marcia Altman of Brown Harris Stevens says, “Sales have been steady this spring. We are seeing records broken at the top of our market in the ‘western’ Hamptons. Other pricing has been steadily rising –  boosting values West of the Canal. Inventory is limited in many price ranges. Under $1M sales are brisk and properties go quickly. The under $3M market is healthy. In the Quogue/Remsenburg/Westhampton Beach locale, most new construction arises from tear-downs. Land is limited and in demand, so prices are holding.” Marcia believes, “With the uncertainty on the world stage, the Hamptons offer a respite to spend quality time in a magnificent setting. We will be as busy as ever in summer 2018!”

Marc Heskell of Saunders & Associates says, “There has been a robust rental market so far this year. I expect that short-term rentals have been aided by the U.S. Open at Shinnecock. The most active segment driving our sales market are properties under $1M and $2M. New construction remains in high demand across all price points. Waterfront and unique village properties are hot. Sag Harbor, Amagansett, Montauk, and Sagaponack are leading the market. In general prices remain stable to up slightly. Strong sales activity has resulted in a significant decline in inventory across the board, most notable in properties under $1M.” Marc observes, “Overall, I see the market remaining strong. Historically the summer is a slower period for deals, but similar to 2017 I expect this summer will be busier than usual.”

Tim Davis of The Corcoran Group says, “The rental season is quite good this year compared to years past. One month and short-term rentals are very popular. Sales are off to a strong start though volume is still down. Mid-April through the end of June is prime selling time. The market above $20M is particularly attractive. Prices are holding with the lowest amount of inventory in 10 years. New construction is plentiful though a fair amount has been sold in the past two years. This is a very active marketplace for the speculative builder/investor.” Tim remarks, “Since we are hosting the U.S. Golf Open this year at Shinnecock, the energy will be ecstatic on the East End which will translate for all kinds of business this season.”

Bruce Grant of Sotheby’s International Realty says, “This year’s rental season is much stronger than last year’s. We’ve done a lot of high-end rentals and expect more. Sales are also strong. We’ve closed some very significant deals around and above $20M. Oceanfront properties always generate the strongest interest as do turn-key new builds. The Village of Southampton and other village centers continue to draw buyers. Parts of the market have seen a stabilization in pricing. However, some are still heady, and could use correction. Inventory is stable. As properties sell, new listings come to market.” Bruce notes, “New builds are always close to the top of many buyers’ lists and always generate a lot of interest.”

James Petrie of Compass says, “The high-end rental market in East Hampton and Amagansett has been very active. High-end sales have been sporadic, there has been activity on aggressively priced properties. Village properties of up to $3M have been active and the market under $1M is always moving. New projects with traditional exteriors and transitional interiors seem to be in favor.” James anticipates, “an active market this summer and fall.”

As the long-awaited summer finally arrives, pent-up city and suburban dwellers are about to explode upon the Hamptons scene again. As they bring with them their love of beaches, farm stands, and village attractions, the Hamptons will soon be bustling once more. With inventories at a 10-year low, prices remaining stable, and new construction very active, this is the time to make the Hamptons your quintessential vacation spot.

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