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Market Still Strong in the Hamptons

By Kate C. Patchett - December 16, 2020

Well, we have made it through 2020 and are approaching the finish line. It’s been a complete whirlwind, to say the least. The real estate market picked up at the start of the pandemic and things haven’t slowed down, nor does it look like it will any time soon. Sellers still have the upper hand while buyers still search for available properties to buy or rent. Hamptons real estate agents have been busier than ever, and are preparing for another fast-moving season in 2021.

The trend of buyers choosing the Hamptons as their primary home location will continue into the new year. “Without question, we are seeing and feeling the change in population here in the Hamptons,” shares Corcoran licensed associate real estate broker Tim Davis. “I read [recently] that nearly 6,000 new residents have decided to make the East End their permanent home. We are quite fortunate in that regard.”

For those that are not quite certain about the Hamptons, or have yet to sell other properties before purchasing a new one, the rental market has always been an ideal entry to test the waters. Enzo Morabito, licensed associate real estate broker with Douglas Elliman found that while the Hamptons rental market was very busy early on with COVID-19, it has now stabilized as consumers began buying. Brown Harris Stevens associate real estate broker Christopher Burnside says the market is difficult on all fronts, and premiums are forcing tenants to look in other areas never considered before.

What buyers are looking for now has not changed over the past year. Access to the outdoors and natural spaces remains strong, as well as the transition at home for indoor-outdoor living. Separate spaces for a home office and virtual classroom are also important, as well as good connectivity as many have transitioned to a virtual lifestyle. Homes that are move-in ready are of course ideal, as well as the ever-coveted new construction. 

Though sellers do have that upper hand, agents do have recommendations for buyers in this market. One is that now is still the time to purchase as inventory continues to shrink. Charles Forsman, a licensed real estate salesperson with the Ed Petrie Team at Compass, says in this market buyers need an agent that will be honest with them. “It is no secret the current market is competitive for buyers,” he explains. “Finding an agent who is going to give you an accurate market analysis for the properties you are interested in is a must. While some of the well-priced homes are selling within days of being listed, there are other properties that are certainly reaching for a high price. Short and sweet: knowing the market and acting fast on properties of interest.”

2021 is practically here, and we look forward to what the new year holds. The impact of the pandemic will continue and the real estate market will remain strong, many agents predict. While this is good news to an extent, for sellers and contractors, there can be some downsides. 

“The sales prices have risen with the demand, and the contractors are busy,” share Plum Builders’ Al and Mary Giaquinto. “Although that imbalance will stabilize, sales prices will not revert back to 2019 levels; those are in the past. There is such a limited supply of properties on the East End that our local professional people are priced completely out of the market both for rentals and sales, a truly unfortunate development for local businesses.”

Hamptons real estate agents now share their thoughts on the current and future state of the local market…

CHRISTOPHER BURNSIDE, BROWN HARRIS STEVENS

The COVID-19 shutdowns saw a lot of buyers choosing the Hamptons as their primary home location. Do you see this trend continuing? 

The beach versus the city? This seems like an obvious decision especially when your health is concerned. Remote learning, virtual offices, and quality of life prevail in the Hamptons.

TIM DAVIS, THE CORCORAN GROUP

What advice do you have for buyers in this seller’s market?

Look closely at the recent sales data which is quite abundant. Don’t overprice your home thinking that the market value has necessarily increased beyond the closed sales data. A flood of overpriced properties could stall the flow of our market right now. For buyers, provide as much data about existing conditions, current zoning, expansion possibilities and the importance of still buying the best locations.

MARY AND AL GIAQUINTO, PLUM BUILDERS 

How is the rental market doing, both year-round and seasonal?

The rental market is strong, and the demand continues to be strong especially for well-maintained homes with the right mix of technology and wellness features that are in demand today. Again, prices have strengthened.

ENZO MORABITO, DOUGLAS ELLIMAN REAL ESTATE

Any insights into how you see the market evolving as we head into 2021?

There are a lot of brokers out here, because there’s a lot of business. Change brings opportunity and the market should continue to be healthy. This is still a vacation community, but it’s also now even more year-round than it’s ever been. Even the typically summer-only and seasonal pop-ups are staying open because everyone’s here.

CHARLES FORSMAN FROM THE ED PETRIE TEAM, COMPASS

What are current buyer must-haves in this market?

I would say the biggest “must-have” is something move-in ready. However, other interests have not changed, even as winter approaches and the temperature begins to drop. Aside from most people looking for something move-in ready, there are two major checklist items that attract the average buyer, a pool and central air conditioning/heat.

Main Photo Credit – Martha Gundersen & Paul Brennan, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

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