As temperatures rise and summer starts knocking on the Hamptons’ door, Dan’s Papers helped to kick off what is looking to be a hot real estate season with an exclusive Open House networking and cocktail event at the Crescendo Designs Experience Center in Southampton on February 23.
Real estate and building professionals mingled in the mock living room and kitchen in Crescendo’s Experience Center, which mimics a high-tech home. Catering was provided by Dark Horse of Riverhead and wine from Roanoke, Wolffer and Vineyard 48 flowed. Guests were comfortably invited to relax, chat and learn about the high-end audio and video services supplied by Crescendo Designs.
And, of course, real estate talk was all the rage as everyone is optimistic that this year will build on the steadily recovering success stories of previous years.
“The real estate market is showing signs of life,” said Sam Friedman of Nest Seekers. “Renting seems to be much better than last year, and sales are better than the past several years.”
Many echoed similar sentiments, and attributed the increasingly stronger economy as reason for the positive outlook.
“This is the economy on the upswing,” said Mohna Hoope of Nest Seekers.
Along with many others in the industry, however, Hoope was careful to clarify that this is the “Hamptons economy,” which often operates at a different pace than the rest of the country.
“The wealthiest people in the world drive out here for the weekend,” said Mike Burns, who owns Burns Realty Development Corp. and is married to Nancy Mizrahi of Saunders & Associates. “I used to say that the Hamptons was the Saint-Tropez of America. But Saint-Tropez is the Hamptons of Europe.”
There was a general feeling that very high-end homes and those homes listed at under $1 million were doing the best and moving the easiest. But, both buyers and sellers seem to be more willing to negotiate than in previous years.
“Sellers seem to be setting more realistic prices,” said Susan Green of Sotheby’s. “There’s a little more compromise between sellers and buyers,” affirmed Beau Hulse of Beau Hulse Realty Group.
The market, however, still very much favors the buyer. “There’s still money out here,” said Peter McCracken of Corcoran. “And buyers in the Hamptons are real buyers.”
And, as always, cash is king. Real estate attorney Steve Ukman commented on how difficult is can be to get financing.
“The banks are still very stingy,” said Ukman. “It’s difficult to get a loan, because banks don’t want to be stuck with bad ones.”
In addition, many attributed this year’s mild winter to the early indicators of a good summer season. Numerous realtors voiced concerns that last year, the sheer volume of snow made it virtually impossible to even get to many of the homes, much less convince buyers that a pool really did exist in the backyard.
“The first quarter is good,” said Hulse. “And I believe that this is largely due to the weather.” So, with an upswing in the market, what’s trending in Hamptons real estate now? Most realtors agreed that Southampton Village and Sagaponack are hot, and quirky Sag Harbor continues to be a popular destination.
“People want to be urbanized—they want to be within walking distance to the villages,” said Olga Baram of Town and Country.
“A really nice bathroom and a heated pool is key,” said Ellen Lauinger of Corcoran. “And, of course, walking distance to the beach.”