Archive for January, 2016


Thursday, January 21st, 2016

It’s as though the year was divided into 2 completely different experiences.

2015 started out with a BANG — the high end enjoyed a wickedly cool ride, the best it has had since 2007 — then came the summertime swoon and the 1000 point intraday stock market drop. Suddenly, it was as though the Big Boys (and Girls) in the over $20M price range packed up and went home. Fortunately, most of the other price ranges remained relatively engaged.

8 of the 12 individual markets monitored by TOWN & COUNTRY experienced declines in the Number of Homes Sales, as well as Total Home Sales Volume, but only 3 posted a lower Median Home Sales Price.

Bridgehampton (which includes Water Mill and Sagaponack) closed over $1B in Home Sales in 2015 — now that’s impressive!

Amagansett apparently suffered the worst statistically, with a drop of 21% in the Number of Homes Sales and a decline of 28% in Total Home Sales Volume but keep in mind this is a small hamlet so 22 less houses sold in 2015 from 2014 created a significant statistical change.

Median Home Sales Price in the East Hampton Village shot up a whooping 52% from $2.5M in 2014 to $3.8M in 2015. Examining closely the 8 specific price ranges and the reason is clearly found in the $5 – $9.9M range where twice as many homes sold year over year in East Hampton Village.

Looking toward All Hamptons Markets Combined and you can see Home Sales activity for 2015 in the Hamptons dropped just slightly from 2014, with 5% less homes trading, resulting in a 6.8% lower Total Home Sales Volume.

The Median Home Sales Price posted for the year rose slightly from $975,000 to $997,000, or 2.25%.

Click HERE for full report & statistics…


Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

This 4th Quarter TOWN & COUNTRY HOME SALES REPORT is one of the most interesting compilation of factors in the nearly three decades I’ve been reporting on market statistics. Tons of moving parts.

First, let’s examine the obvious… the last 3 months of 2015 were not banner months for trades. In fact, 10 of the 12 markets monitored by TOWN & COUNTRY saw declines — some quite significant — with the greatest statistical drop in Amagansett at 46%.

Next reviewing the Total Home Sales Volumes and the bleeding gets worse with 12 of the 12 markets we watch closely experiencing declines. Southampton Village got pummeled with a 67% plummet in Total Home Sales Volume from $222M in 4th Quarter 2014 to $74M in 4th Quarter 2015. But fret not, this is primarily due to four huge sales in 2014 all over $30M, that pushed the Total Home Sales Volume to rare heights.

The beacon of the three criteria monitored by TOWN & COUNTRY is the Median Homes Sales Price. 7 of the 12 markets saw increases, with many being significant increases. The Bridgehampton Market (which includes Water Mill and Sagaponack) shot up 38% from $2.87M in 4th Quarter 2014 to $3.95M in 4th Quarter 2015. Only East Hampton Village topped that Median Homes Sales Price slightly, with $3.995M.

As we predicted, the price range suffering the most was the high end. The $20M+ and up price range sunk 64% from 11 sales in the 4 in the 4th quarter 2015. This is a direct result of the pull back on Wall Street, since that’s the demographic of the buyer at that elite level.

TOWN & COUNTRY monitors specific price ranges within each market. 7 of the 8 saw declines. One surprise is the $5 – $9.9M category which closed 2 more sales, from 25 to 27 home sales, therefore increased 8%.

A glance at All Hamptons Markets Combined and the picture comes into full focus. During the last 3 months of 2015 the Hamptons Home Sales experienced a pull back.

Click HERE for full report & statistics...

Hamptons & North Fork Commercial Real Estate Market Is Strong

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

The Hamptons and North Fork commercial real estate marketplace was very strong in 2015 in all categories — Sales in Village Business District Retail, Fringe area retail/office, Commercial / Industrial, and leasing overall.


Outside investors, primarily Manhattan real estate owners and in recent years hedge fund investors, continually seek village buildings to purchase but the owners do not want to sell. Rent rolls are high and they have seen considerable appreciation. It does not make sense for them to sell at a reasonable price, hence a stalled market.


Retailers have increased interest in Montauk, Sag Harbor, Amagansett, and Bridgehampton with limited sites available to lease. This has therefore increased the rates in these markets. East Hampton and Southampton remain strong as the key areas national retailers seek out. We are however seeing a weakness in East Hampton as rents have increased to a point making the cost of doing business too high for many.


Most restaurant sites were either sold or leased in 2014 and 2015 including Moby's, Momi Ramen, Fresh, Winston's, Wolffer Sag Harbor, and Baron's Cove Restaurant to name a few. While there are always restaurants for sale — there is less inventory than in past years. But with the life span of the average East End restaurant short – that will probably change by next year, as the average lifespan for new restaurants opening is about three years.


The most sought after sites are the Commercial/Industrial ones. Landscape and pool companies are the major buyers of these sites in the last couple of years with a current lack of inventory. Major builders have also purchased highway builders to make their presence and strength known such as Farrell, Michael Davis, and Landscape Details to name a few. There are others who have sites in contract and will be making announcement in the near future.


The area to watch for 2016 is the North Fork — but more on that next month.

2016 Summer Rental Season

Friday, January 8th, 2016

This year the Hamptons Hot Summer Season should sizzle! We expect more homeowners than ever before, most will enjoy their new acquisition others will choose to rent. Those who choose to rent need to check with their respective municipality for laws, permits, registry instructions and other details. Most of the East End communities have specific laws pertaining to rentals. There have been laws such as ‘group laws’ in place for many years, Such as “no more than 4 unrelated persons allowed in a SFR in East Hampton—5 in Southampton”. And of course, any SFR (single family residence) mandates just that, one family not multiple families in the home.

East Hampton Town has launched a HOT POTATO this year with the adoption of a Rental Registry Law. After considerable debate – mostly objections—the law was passed. Clearly, all residents wish to maintain the quality of life that we hold so dear.

Furthermore, existing laws such as the group laws seemed to address many of the concerns. The catalyst seemed to be the sudden and instant influx of short term rentals… or simply excessive use of residences.

Homeowners, for the most part, are not using their homes like hotels but admittedly, there is evidence of abuse.  Many resort towns are experiencing similar tenant activity. Some have attributed this to online rental sites, some the economy.

In the Hamptons, the lack of hotels and short term rentals contribute to the problem. Just as UBER has forever changed rides around the world, so has VRBO & HomeAway changed how tenants experience vacation rentals. The problem, for lack of a better term, is larger than us.

Worthy of a full discussion… Weigh in your thoughts.