Bust. Boom. Repeat.
From the dips to the soaring highs, it’s been a wild ride. As last year came to close, there were some gains but it still wasn’t heady times quite yet, as there were lows in inventory, transactions and sales prices year over year in the fourth quarter of 2019, which saw the second lowest number of Q4 sales in 11 years. Heading into the New Year, we saw a meteoric rise across the same categories in first two-thirds of Q1 2020, only to face the eventual slowdown due to Covid-19 starting in mid-March.
Now that the generally soaring shareholder economy (note, the specific distinction here between the words “shareholder economy” and the shrinking regular folks’ kitchen-table economy) is again tilting upward, experts are predicting another major climb for luxury real estate. Based on the first five months of 2020, C-Suite types are indicating that the market is heading into the stratosphere. Pointing to the fact that the market for luxury homes was already very strong prior to the pandemic, savvy Hamptons brokers and agents are bracing for what could be a rocket-ship ride straight up through the rest of 2020, thanks to pent-up demand.
Due to the nature of pricey real estate demand and those who trade in it, the financial market disruptions have actually created myriad opportunities here in the Hamptons and across other luxury- and remote markets. Especially as the environment and stock market can be scary, but bricks and mortar — residentially speaking — generally hold their values quite nicely.
At this point, even East Enders who don’t pay much attention to real estate know that as much of the world came to a grinding halt due to the worldwide crisis, wealthy Manhattanites flocked to the beach. As a result, the rental market boomed a full two months early this year. And perhaps presciently in preparation for other such terrible events, many of those with the means have also scooped up summer homes here and other outlying “country-type” areas.
The proof is in the numbers, according to the Community Preservation Fund for the Five Towns of East Hampton, Southampton, Shelter Island, Southold and Riverhead, which includes direct real estate sales data for both the North- and South Forks. According to information released by New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., the CPF brought in record-breaking funds during the first three months of 2020. A whopping $30.92 million was collected from the 2-percent real estate transfer tax, resulting in the highest first-quarter revenues in the fund’s 22-year history.
More data points that reflect the growing demand for luxury properties include the rising number of multi-million dollar recorded sales that have closed since late March. We’ve included a few of the more noticeable transactions here.
Big Deals Continue to Close
The East Hampton estate of the late John F. Sullivan, co-founder of the financial advisory firm Sullivan, Morrissey & Mickle Capital Management, closed for $57.5 million in April. Listed with Bespoke Real Estate, the oceanfront 6-acre property had been on the market since Sullivan’s death in 2016.
In early April, the East Hampton estate of James H. Evans, the former chairman of Union Pacific, traded for $45 million. Located at 26 & 32 Windmill Lane, the double-lot 6.7-acre oceanfront estate had been on the market since last summer, asking $60 million. The property was represented by Paul Brennan and Martha Gundersen of Douglas Elliman and Valerie Smith and Frank Newbold of Sotheby’s International Realty. Gary DePersia of Corcoran brought the buyer.
Just down the street off Lily Pond Lane, hedge fund chief Barry Rosenstein is reportedly selling the smaller of his two homes for $37 million in an off-market deal. The Jana Partners Chief Executive bought the 1.5-acre oceanfront estate in 2005 for $19.2 million. It was offered for $70 million when it was publicly listed back in 2017.
Moving along, 46 Dune Road in Quogue transacted in April for $9.8 million, which is a pretty big number west of the canal. The 2-acre oceanfront estate, represented by Enzo Morabito of Douglas Elliman, had last been listed for $11.495 million.
Prior to the pandemic, there had been a number of big-ticket sales, including that of 1050 Meadow Lane in Southampton, which traded for $40.91 million in January. The 3.4-acre property, with custom home by Ben Krupinski and interior design by Steven Gambrel, sits oceanfront and has unobstructed views of both the Atlantic and Shinnecock Bay. Last listed for $49.5 million, both sides of the deal were represented by Harald Grant and Bruce Grant of Sotheby’s International Realty.
Another notable close came from one of a handful of former Hamptons homes of talent manager Sandy Gallin. Most recently owned by Monc XIII owners Natasha Esch and Matt Coffin, the elegant 14-acre estate at 266 and 300 Sagaponack Road in Bridgehampton sold for $18.35 million. Represented by Eileen O’Neill of Douglas Elliman, the pair of properties last listed for $24 million.
And last but not least was the sale of socialite Ulla Parker’s home at 385 Great Plains Road in Southampton to royals Marie-Chantal Miller and her husband, Pavlos, the Crown Princess and Prince of Greece. The $16.5 million estate section property had been on the market for years, with a price tag as high as $27 million back in 2009, before it traded in early February. Djida Oppenheim of Saunders & Associates represented the listing and Andrea Ackerman of Brown Harris Stevens brought the buyer.
Compass welcomes super broker Christopher Covert to its ever-growing stable. The veteran agent, formerly of Saunders, is one of the Hamptons’ top performers. The former music executive for film and television, who began his real estate career in 2013, will be located in the brokerage’s Bridgehampton office.
Compass has also welcomed agents Erin Downey and Craig Beem. The pair, formerly with Sotheby’s International Realty, now call Compass’s offices in Southampton home.