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Hot Sales and Listings…

By Barbara Baker - February 12, 2020

Falling numbers are not usually welcome, except perhaps on the golf course or on the scale. But they might not be so bad for the real estate market either, as long as the data indicates the results of course correction and not a precipitous drop.
Looking at the big picture, experts predict that the end of 2019 might not just be the end of a decade, but maybe also the eventual bottoming of a corrective market cycle.
“Overall East End pricing and sales for 2019 were similar to 2010,” says Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel, who analyzes the data for Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

His reports for the decade show nearly identical numbers for average sales prices from 2010 to 2019 (from approximately $1.45 million in 2010 to $1.42 in 2019, a 1.6-percent decrease); median sales prices ($787,500 in 2010 and $775,000 in 2019, a 1.6-percent decrease) and number of sales (2.075 in 2010 compared to 2,209 in 2019, a 6.5-percent increase). They also reveal a slightly lower listing inventory (2,292 properties on the market in 2010 versus 2,052 in 2019, a 10.5-percent decrease) but reduced actual days on the market (156 in 2010 compared to 132 days in 2019, reducing the absorption rate 15.4 percent).
Town & Country Real Estate Chief Executive Officer Judi Desiderio reported that she had arrived at a similar conclusion, at least as it related to the sales from the past year.
“Brace yourself! I’ve been warning that the 4th Quarter Home Sales Report was going to be bad… well it certainly was,” she wrote as an introduction to her company’s findings. “In my three decades of reporting on the Hamptons Real Estate statistics, this is the first time we’ve experienced such declines without the catalyst of a financial crisis.”
The numbers she shared compared the annual high- and low-water marks across the Hamptons region from 2018 to 2019. Findings included a weaker number of home sales (1,670 in 2019 and 2,052 in 2018, a 19-percent decrease), drop in the total home sales volume across the region (approximately $3.17 billion in 2019 and $3.94 billion in 2018, an approximate 19.5-percent decrease) and flat median home sales price ($998,750 in 2019 and $999,000 in 2018, a .03-percent decrease).

Town & Country breakdowns across all market segments, save one, also showed lower total number of sales individually. The lone leap up came from the very high end, with $20-million-and-up sales increasing year over year from 7 transactions in 2018 to 9 in 2019, a 29-percent increase. And though the first quarter of 2020 is underway, market activity suggests more high-flying buys.
That’s great news for the market, according to Desiderio.
“If December 2019 and January are indicators for 2020, we expect this year to be a great year for Hamptons Real Estate since all 8 Town & Country Real Estate offices are reporting greater winter sales activity than we’ve seen in over a decade,” she said. “This tells me we are now bouncing off that bottom. Obviously time to jump in and secure your piece of East End dirt!”
The Corcoran Group’s annual reports were similar, showing a steadying of the market across most of the region across 2019. According to the brokerage’s analysis, “overall price statistics remained nearly unchanged, with the average only down 1-percent and the median essentially unchanged.”
According to the data, areas to watch include Quogue Village, which had declining sales of 47 percent, Shelter Island, which saw sales double and then some, and East Hampton, which had a 21-percent increase in transactions, making it the highest-selling area. Sag Harbor and North Haven are still heating up, according to Corcoran, as both areas had increased sales over $5 million and fewer in the under $1million market, which is vanishing across the entire South Fork.

Across the South Fork, east of the canal saw the most expansion in the $2 million- to $3 million range. And prices continued to rise west of the canal, particularly in the $2 million- to $3 million range, the Corcoran market analysis reveals.
Though the overall numbers have remained fairly static over the past year, high-net-worth individuals continue to bet on the Hamptons, according to Robert Nelson, Executive Managing Director of the Hamptons for Brown Harris Stevens.
While 63-percent of all South Fork sales clocked in between $500,000 and $2 million, the $5 million-and-over sales accounted for 34.2-percent of total dollar volume even as they brought in just 6.2-percent of overall transactions. Even more illuminating of the trend, the average sales price in the upper luxury market climbed approximately 68 percent from the third quarter of 2019 to the fourth (from $5.21 million in Q3 to $8.76 million in Q4).
“Such turning points can drive the market forward with renewed strength and remind us that the Hamptons is an intrinsically powerful place to own quality real estate,” he has reported.
In the end, the data points to good news overall, as those who are least affected by the vagaries of the market look to still be investing in the Hamptons, agreed Todd Bourgard, Douglas Elliman’s Senior Executive Manager of Sales for the Hamptons.
“As we concluded 2019, the fourth quarter had a strong finish and was a great catalyst for 2020,” he said, summing up “a confident market” at year’s end.
Data collected came from end-of-year market reports from Douglas Elliman, Town & Country, Corcoran, and Brown Harris Stevens. As of late January, market reports were not yet available from Sotheby’s, Compass, Saunders, Bespoke, Nestseekers and Halstead.

Top Montauk agent Chris Coleman, formerly at Saunders, recently joined Compass along with colleagues Kellie Baranovich and Sarah Birdsall. They will be based out of Compass’ Montauk office. Coleman’s recent high profile listings include a 24-acre horse farm in Montauk owned by Mickey Drexler, and a Montauk Moorelands estate which sold last year for $10.25 million.
Sotheby’s International Realty welcomes agents Beth Felsen and Ryan Struble to its East Hampton office. Prior to real estate, Felsen worked for William Sonoma, West Elm, Serena & Lily, and alongside Chris Burch to help launch C Wonder. She has also helped launch what is now Sotheby’s Home, an online marketplace for high-end resale furnishings. Struble brings with him several years experience in real estate and a strong background in construction- and property management. With a unique knowledge of residential systems and materials, his knowledge is an asset to buyers and sellers. A strong negotiator in business enjoys playing in poker tournaments, training for his first Ironman, upgrading his East Hampton home and surfing.
Theresa Eurell, a top producer for the past decade with a strong focus on the Montauk market has joined Saunders in their East Hampton office. Formerly at Town & Country, Eurell prides herself on building long-term relationships and maintaining discretion while working with high-profile clients. The Montauk native is President of the Montauk Village Association and a passionate supporter of the Rell Sunn Surf Contest.

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