Archive for the 'Southold' Category


Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

The big question is – what will 2012 bring in business – besides the health and peace we all hope for – especially in the Real Estate Market?

Is an investment in Real Estate a good one right now on the North Fork? In this blog I will try and provide a lot of information to allow you to come to one conclusion – besides the shear enjoyment of a (second) home in our beautiful East End region, an hour and a half outside of Manhattan’s mid-town tunnel…: YES!

Who would have thought that the budget deficit in Greece would affect the sale of your home in the US? With the huge amount of news we are bombarded with on a daily basis, what should we pay attention to (and what not) to make smart decisions? We need to incorporate in our decisions 1) a bit of economic history, 2) some international economic news , 3) US economic factors and finally, and 4) very local real estate concepts as all real estate in the end is hyper local.

The fall of Lehman in the fall of 08 was a first calamity, a tip of an iceberg making the world aware of unprecedented inter-connectedness caused by economic globalization. A globalization providing challenges but importantly also overall benefits for all participants – often overlooked in analysis. The USA and its “American Dream” tie more than any other country the success of its citizens to home ownership. A great system where banks provide mortgages, then re-sell them (to semi Government entities or private parties), and sell more mortgages allowing people the American Dream is unique in its multiplying effect in any developed world economy. The larger scale applications of futures (starting in the days of Aristotle to stabilize grain markets), options and and derivatives augmented this crisis of confidence and economies were thrown in unexpected tailspins. This finally resulted in doubts even in that rock of financial trust – the possibility of default in important economies’ souvereign debt as budget deficits sky rocket as a result of efforts to stabilize financial markets and stave off deep recessions world wide.

Repackaging good and bad loans and selling unscrupulous financial instruments caused an international crisis in confidence in worldwide financial markets. A crisis in general about the value of any collateral. But in three years we have come far in dealing with these issues, and I think the corrective pendulum swung to far and is about to swing back to the middle! Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water when looking at the causes of economic troubles of 2008, and better understand and appreciate the improvements in the world ecomomy seen today. Let us not overlook the fact that these same maligned instruments properly applied provide businesses a stable planning opportunity, and that smart people profit even when markets go down. Isn’t it just unfair manipulation of markets to achieve such profits that we should be wary of? Hedgefunds in the US and worldwide use this principle-as flow of capital is more important in today’s world economy than production of goods and services. My point: not all effects of more complicated financial instruments are bad.

The good news in the US economy is – the doomsayers didn’t get their way in 2011 – but neither did the bulls. The economy remained flat and since August 2011 the European Souvereign debt crisis seems to dominate any economic news even today. But the news is getting better. Unemployment is finally improving – important precursor to a better Real Estate market. On the East End the bottom did not fall from under the Real Estate market, quite the contrary. As the following graph shows, the market has remained flat but has remained at much higher levels in tranactions and values than all the bad news would suggest- so is the glass half full or half empty? Data suggest it’s filling up again.

Real Estate Activity in New York North Fork Wine Country

Annual Real Estate Sales - Contracts Signed - North Fork

With respect to international news: the truth is: nobody knows for sure what the future will bring. But (according to Onno Ruding, past Treasury Secretary in the Netherlands, Executive Director for IMF, and executive at Citibank) when one looks at the balance of payments for the entire Euro zone things do not look as bad as one would expect from the news – hence the Euro which has not collapsed at all and is stable strong in a range of $1.20-$1.40 to the US Dollar (only a decade ago at 1:1 and nobody thought anything of it). German, Dutch and Finnish Unemployment all are at a long term low. In effect, this crisis of confidence has given rise to the idea of a “German Euro”, and a “Greek Euro” on the other side of the spectrum. The Euro is a strange hybrid of a monetary unity without economic and political unity for the sake of national souvereignty (mostly France’s identity). So is all the Euronews exeggarated in its influence on the US Economy and the US housing market? The fear and a doomsday scenario would be that a failure in Greece’s ability to meet its souvereign obligations might cause a domino effect to Portugal, Spain and Italy, and even France. But short of that happening, a default of just Greece would-worst case- not be catastrophic but quite manageable. I think you can make that case easily – as long as we do not see major unforeseen calamities in 2012, in which case all predictions fail.

In August, the Chief economist for NAR , Lawrence Yun spoke before the NYSAR conference and made an interesting statement: housing starts are not keeping up with household growth for the past three years, possibly creating a housing shortage if trends continue. Might I add that I think that the US consumer is plain tired of bad news – showing up in droves at the stores in the 2011 Holiday Shopping season?

All Real Estate is local, and everyone knows the saying “location, location, location”. So let’s look at the local facts first. I keep track of an interesting statistic: RE contracts signed, in what I call the “Real North Fork” market area, about from Rte 105 East. Please do not hold this statistic to precise measures, as it is very volatile, but the advantage is that it gives you a very quick overview of what the reports on closings later will tell you more exactly, it is a measure of the activity of RE sales in our market with very little delay. A great predictor.

Pictures speak louder than a thousand words, and the facts speak for themselves:

Residential Sales Contracts Signed North Fork - Over $ One Million - (from MLSLI)

2011 saw 34 transactions over $1 Million, vs 35 in 2010, 33 in 2009 and 2008, and 52 in 2007. The upper end of the market has undoubtedly stabilized. I have seen some very good prices fetched for very good properties – almost comparable to the top of the market in the most spectacular homes segment.

Number of Residential Contracts of sale signed in New York's North Fork Wine Country

Number of Residential Contracts of sale signed in New York's North Fork Wine Country

2011 saw 279 transactions vs 280 in 2010, 243 in 2009, 217 in 2008, and 293 in 2007 but this story is not complete without a picture of the median price and days on market:

Median Prices Contracts Signed North Fork WIne Country

Median Prices Contracts Signed North Fork WIne Country

Days on market before contracts were signed

Days on market before contracts were signed

The North Fork Market stabilized in the Summer of 2010. The full picture would indicate that properties for which contracts were signed seem to have taken longer to get to that point – but any experienced Real Estate broker will tell you that a well priced property sells quickly as there are buyers out there looking for opportunities. The median price of homes sold also is at the bottom of the three years as expected: it is either a beauty contest or a price war – and the buyers still have the upper hand here.

To make the right decision, and benefit from the trends these data show, follow our North Fork T&C experience in this market:

Tips for sellers: your pricing decision will determine if and when you will sell. This is what I would consider if I were selling my house: A good Realtor (r) will help you get first prize in the “beauty contest” and suggest ways to present your property in the best light. Make sure you Realtor (r) works full time – so any buyer can reach him or her easily, and so the home can be shown promptly and easily to buyers when they are available. Also make sure your Realtor makes use of the best technology available. Look at the way their listings show online before choosing an agent. And like-it-or-not: statistics show that most buyers today will find the property they are going to buy online. Feel free to use our Town and Country Website as a standard: again, a picture speaks louder than a thousand words and our state-of-the-art web technology showcases your home beautifully. Ask the question: where will your buyer come from? Does your agent have the wherewithall to reach that buyer? Is there a fit between his or her personality and the buyer you are trying to attract? Is the way this agent markets other properties attractive to that buyer for your home? In the end luck will play a role, but you can reallly improve your odds by selecting the right agent and the right RE company. If you were a buyer – would you enjoy looking at homes with this agent? Is he or she enthusiastic, happy, and a goal getter? All characteristics we look at before we ask associates to join Town and Country Real Estate.

Sellers: things are probably not going to get better quicklier than your running expenses if you hang on. Make use of the fact there’s a lot less market competition now with fewer properties on the market. And think of it this way: if you are going to make use of any buying opportunities after you sell- best to grab them now, so better to sell now and not wait! The only good reason to take a property off the market is if you do not want to sell. And buyers can afford your home now better now than in the (nearer) future- you can almost take that one to the bank.

Tips for buyers: work with a Realtor (r) who knows the market and loves Real Estate – only then will he or she be able to tell you which homes are the ones that you want to look at, know the ins and outs of each home, and allow you to use your time efficiently. You want to be ahead of the curve – once everybody catches on that the worst is over – you will be too late for the best time to buy. Come prepared with a mortgage pre-approval in hand. Be available and ready to go when a home pops up (either new on the market or suddenly lowered to the right price) – for a great deal you will have competition from other buyers and you need to be quick and ready to compete. This morning only 397 homes showed up on MLS, in a market area where normally 550 homes are on the MLS. So be prepared to act. Waiting will not get you a better deal – so if you find what you are looking for and the price is right – buy now while interest rates are still low.

To buy or not to buy is the question, or for sellers: to sell or not to sell. Buyers may have to pay higher interest rates if they wait longer, and I see prices going up. So buyers who are going to “wait and see” may well have to pay for that privilege. And don’t forget – what banks think buyers can afford will go down very quickly under that scenario.

Town and Country is excited to report that we are experiencing remarkable growth and development in this challenging market. Our T&C agents have helped more buyers and sellers succesfully conclude deals on the North Fork than ever before. December was the busiest month of December most of our agents can recall. Our careful selection of professionals to service your needs is responsible for that. Call us if you are interested in joining us in our success, to buy, sell, or rent, in our Mattituck office at 631 209 0600 or Southold office at 631 765 0500! At Town and Country Real Estate – we are quietly getting the job done.

US Home Prices & New Home Sales BOTH rise!

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

WASHINGTON: The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index showed home sale prices rose in August from July in 10 of the 20 cities tracked. This is an indication of stabilization in some of the hard hit portions of the country. July was the 5th straight monthly gains in half the cities monitored.

Additionally, the US Commerce Department released the New Home Sales Report for September which showed a strong increase of 5.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 313,000 homes.

The National Association of Home Builders reports that for each new home built, 3 jobs are created for a year and generates $90,000 in taxes….All good news for the National Home Markets and our financial recovery!

Now if the banks would get on board we'd see the recovery speed up.


Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Wall Street Journal's Jack Hough, titled his article on Saturday just that… "It's Time to Buy That House".

He discusses the National Association of Realtors, Housing Affordability Index, which Town and Country has written about several times this year, which was 183.7 in August. According to NAR a reading of 100 would indicate that the median income family with a 20% down payment can afford a mortgage on a median priced home.

Jack gives an example of a median priced home in greater Phoenix, purchasing it with 20%, at todays 4.12% interest rate, results in monthly payments less than half what the rental for the same home would be.

Of course, as we discussed many times in prior blogs, the banks are being piggy and not lending the money they should, even to qualified buyers. This must be rectified first, in order to move forward!

Personally, my sentiment has always been the same. I'd rather keep my money in "East End dirt", as I call it, rather than anywhere else on the planet!

As Kramer would say, "Buy, Buy, Buy".

The Peconic Bay Shopper and famous Waterfront homes on the North Fork

Sunday, July 10th, 2011
No 4 on the list of America's best beaches
The East End of Long Island has long been a getaway for the rich and famous. Since the 1980s the Hamptons have dominated the news as the playground for Manhattan's who'se who. The mix of proximity to the City and the world's best Ocean Beaches with great daytime (the most upscale shops and boutiques East of Manhattan, fabulous Golf courses and boating/fishing grounds) and night-time entertainment (famous restaurants and scenic nightclubs) still prove irresistable today.
But not that long ago, long before Allan Schneider put his very personal mark on the Real Estate market of the Hamptons, really since the 1850s, large Inns and Hotels dotted the North Fork from Orient to Jamesport… and industrialists like the Marshalls and the Cosdens built fabulous waterfront homes on the bluffs overlooking the Sound long before the fame of
the Hamptons. One of the local papers – the Peconic Bay Shopper - explains the relevance today of why these people choose the North Fork then. Local historians discuss and show old pictures of these fabulous times. In the last issue of the Peconic Shopper Norman Wambach and others explain that the Cosdens (see the link right to a book by Mr Fleming of the Southold Histroical Society) and the Marshalls were here for the same reasons people now flock to the North Fork: fabulous waterfront properties and some of the most beautiful sunset views over the water from high cliffs, reminiscent of Central America's ocean coasts, great boating (some of our seafarer's towns such as Greenport and Orient helped shape the economy we as we know it in America), some of the nation's best Golf courses, and most important – respect for each other's privacy. Quietly, famous artists such as Paul Taylor have spent their summers for years alongside people like fashion guru Robert Verdi who just I heard closed on a contemporary North Fork Soundfront home in May of this year ($2,395 Million).
Most of the North Fork's best Waterfront homes are well hidden – which should come as no surprise given the low-key preferences of most North Forkers. Given the North Fork's realtively small size, the waterfronts are spectacular, surround the entire peninsula and are usually still close to shops and restaurants. Some of our waterfront properties on the North Fork are on the Peconic Bay side, looking towards the Hamptons or Shelter Island…and Cutchogue's Nassau Point is probably home to one of the area's most spectacular Bayfront Bluff properties. But the beach along Indian Neck in Peconic is another spectacular hidden gem – where Lewis Bacon – who also owns Robin's island – purchased a large estate.
The Long Island Sound-side of the NOrth Fork provides either high bluffs and sunsets over the water unparalelled in the North Eastern Coastline on the US, and at two places low beaches -hence the comparison of McCabe's and Kenney's Beach areas to Westhampton Beach. At two places the Sound beaches open up at Goldsmith Inlet in Peconic and at Mattituck Inlet – home of the Old Mill Inn
MAttituck Inlet
one of the North Fork's oldest watering holes (with Greta van Susteren as investor – she's been seen bar tending as it is whispered…).
t is said that Blue Man group members exchanged their property on Town Creek in Southold for a larger one – and are currently in the process of selling a beautifuly restored historic home – right on the creek, with its own dock.
Goose Creek
Creeks and inlets are another form of waterfront property – most popular with boating enthusiasts and fishermen… some of these creekfronts come with docks and protected landing spaces for your boats – even boat captains in the 18th century were looking for protection of their ships at North Fork coves and inlets against inclement weather.
Some Creekfronts are now for sale at very affordable prices - let Town and Country agents help you find the right one.
Contact our Town and Country Real Estate agents who are carefully selected and experienced specialists to help you find or sell the perfect waterfront on the North Fork and help you navigate the shoals of waterfront buying and selling…


Friday, July 1st, 2011
Blue Inn at East Marion, North Fork

Montauk Hotelier Sam Glass succeeded in bringing the best of the North Fork and South Fork & the Hamptons together: the owner of Montauk’s Ocean Resort Inn is opening the Blue Inn this fourth of July weekend!

Visitors to the North Fork looking for a place to stay: pay attention! The Blue Inn will be the place to be beginning this weekend and no vacancy signs are going up quickly (still call to see if there are a few no-shows or cancellations – worth a try!!)

The renovations which took place since Sam Glass bought this famous North Fork watering hole and Inn last year made all the

Blue Inn Guestroom

rooms and suites conform to the highest standards in hospitality: clean, luxurious and tasteful! Each room has its own small kitchenette

The Blue inn is located conveniently on the Main Road in East Marion – only a few miles form hustling and bustling Greenport

Lavender by the Bay

Village with all its harbor-front shopping and dining. While you are relaxing on one of the rocking chair porches or sipping a cocktail at the Bar you’ll get a whiff of the breeze from the west where Lavender by the Bay has its neighboring acres fields of French Lavender blooming this weekend. It all spells out one thing: Relax and enjoy!


Worth a visit – and While you are out visit a few of Town and Country’s open houses on Saturday!

Welcome to the North Fork and Happy Fourth!

Porches with Rocking Chairs at the Blue Inn


Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Aren’t Open Houses are a fun way to find the home of your dreams?

If you are looking for a home with a dock – this weekend is great: Town and Country Agents are making it possible to see quite a few -priced right- waterfont homes with private docks on the North Fork- for your convenience-no appointments needed!

Our T&C agents are professionals who know the RE market – that’s their business. So do not hesitate to pick their brains while you visit their open houses. Remember-they know the best homes on the market: ask them for their favorite listings! 

Click here for this weekend’s Open Houses


Monday, August 16th, 2010

Orange and Blue Reflections by Carolyn FrancisOrange-and-Blue-Reflections (Carolyn Francis)

Town and Country Real Estate is an active member of the North Fork Wine Country community!

On August 20, from 4-7 PM the T&C Southold Office will host the finale of our Summer Series Art shows featuring Carolyn Francis’s paintings.

Along a Country Road by Carolyn FrancisAlong a Country Road – by Carolyn Francis

A great opportunity to meet Carolyn in person and talk about her work, and to have a glass of Champagne with Patrice Bertin, Carolyn’s husband , and fine art restoration expert, owners of beautiful l’Orangerie Gallery in Greenport.

This finale follows a wonderful display of Marcie Honerkamp’s art in June, including three of her famous surf boards;  

Marcie Honerkamp and one of her famous Surf Boards

and in July  Christopher Jarrett:

Estuary in Bronze by Chris Jarrett                   

Bhagdad Cafe by Christopher Jarrett












and Roby Braun were the featured artists at the Southold Office’s Art shows 2010 Summer , and Carolyn Francis – on display until Wednesday, August 18.

      "Hope" by R.L Braun – Cold Cast Bronze

Don’t take it just from us how good our associates are! Take it from the press!

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Town and Country carefully chooses its professionals. Judi Desiderio’s expertise and Quartery East End Market Insight reports are sought after sources of information. And information is what clients and customers alike need more than anything else for the most important business decisions people make: Real Estate decisions. Buy or sell? Hold on and rent/lease? How do I price my property if I decide to sell? How long are properties on the market? Are we past the bottom of the Market? No other reports more closely follow the specific East End, South Fork and North Fork, Real Estate Markets than Judi Desiderio’s reports – more than just statistics, because they include Judi’s daily experience as well. But our experience also shows in the press quotes of our associates: Cathleen Doldon was interviewed by Long Island Business News , I was quoted in the Suffolk Times last week on local RE conditions. Many of our listings were featured in articles in Newsday and other newspapers and magazines. Local papers have covered lots of events our brokers participate in or orgainzed, such as Newsday’s article on the Art Openings for Hamptons Artists in the Southold Office of Town and Country! So don’t just take it from us how good our associates are: Take it from the press!

North Fork 1st Quarter 2010 Home Sales Report

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

 The next “market trend” is well under way.

Town & Country was the first to identify “the bottom”, mid year last year and we’re the first to identify the recovering market.
We reported increased activity in sales appointments, O&A’s and contracts in our North Fork Year End 2009 Home Sales Report which we explained will be quantified in the 1st and 2nd report of 2010… and so it is written.
All 4 markets monitored by Town & Country posted significant gains in the Number of Home Sales except ORIENT (which includes East Marion and Greenport) which remained unchanged with 9 Home Sales.  MATTITUCK (which includes Laurel and Cutchogue) posted the greatest increase at 64% with 18 Home Sales in 2010 compared with 11 in 2009, and while the 18 was just shy of the 22 posted in 2008, it demonstrates a strong recovery.  All 18 Home Sales in MATTITUCK (which includes Laurel and Cutchogue) were under $1M.
SOUTHOLD (which includes New Suffolk and Peconic) Total Home Sales Volume exploded year to year with an 80% increase from $6.3M to $11.3M 2009 to 2010 1st quarter respectively.  This trend continued in the category of Median Home Sales Price, where a jump of 55% from $400,596 in 2009 rose to $620,000 in 2010.  A closer look at individual price categories show SOUTHOLD (which includes New Suffolk and Peconic) Home Sales $500,000- $900,000 rose from 2 in 2009 to 9 in 2010 and $1M – $1.99M from 1 to 3 Home Sales year to year.  Both figures top the numbers of 2008, pre-recession.
Looking at All North Fork Markets Combined and we see almost all black!!! The Number of Home Sales jumped 26% while the Total Home Sales Volume increased 28% and the Median Home Sales Price rose 15.5% , All significant,  all positive, all confirming the worst is far behind us on the North Fork.
To view more specifics on your particular locations and price ranges, visit out website and click “Reports”.


Saturday, December 26th, 2009
North Fork Merlot

Some 1.5 hours outside of New York City, some 20 minutes from most of the Hamptons,  by car, by Hampton Jitney or by Long Island Railroad, you will find the North Fork…. a tiny peninsula accross the Peconic Bay from its famous South Fork, the Hamptons. (click for a Map of the North Fork) 

Many New Yorkers call the North Fork their best kept secret: a place to live while working in the City, or a place for a second home and enjoy the good things of life. The North Fork is surrounded by water, the Long Island Sound on the North, with spectacular homes overlooking the dunes and high bluffs towards Connecticut. To the South the North Fork encounters the Peconic Bay The Bay’s topography is characterized by many creeks and inlets allowing for many waterfront homes with their own (deep water) docks, with access to what many consider the world’s nicest fishing grounds for Sea Bass, Fluke and Bluefish; Reydon Shoresclams and lobsters are plentiful and the burgeoning oyster industry is famous on menues at the best restaurants not just locally, or in the City, but recently even worldwide. And through Shennecock you can reach the Atlantic’s best fishing grounds (The Canyon)  for sportsfishing and some of the most delicous Tuna – in itself a reason to come visit the North Fork if you like eating fish. To the South, the Bay between the Hamptons and the North Fork is called Peconic Bay, home to many charming and old whaling ports (Orient, Greenport)  with its charming whaling villages (Orient and Greenport), and the Tip of the North Fork point into the Atlantic Ocean. 

The Long Island Wine Council can provide you with information on all vineyards: lots off family fun atMartha Clara Vineyards, but certainly do not leave the Island without tasting some of the local Champagnes. 

I will be atSparkling Point this New Year’s eve… a great new vineyard at Hortons Lane and the North Road in Southold, and great members of the Community.And for a serious Beautiful local Merlot: try the Macari Bergen Road Merlot…

The North Fork has succeeded in maintaining its rural, agricultural character, with a life style many modern cisitzens of the World aspire to: eat and drink local foods and wine, and be connected to the soil! We have come far from the days of endless potato farms – the potatoes left are now the finest only! But Satur Farms and Sang Lee Farms show how specialty farming can succeed: they now are purveyors of the finest and most delicious and healthy produce served in top restaurants.

There’s lots to do on the North Fork. Check this blog out for current affairs and stuff to do in this great place:

For New Years Eve: The restaurants are providing a great wealth of quality places to be romantic or to see and be seen. The crew of "The Romantics" (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Murphy Brown’s Candice Bergen and Elijah Wood were seen hanging out in Greenport at FOB and the Frisky Oyster – for the celebrity watchers among you). And some local gossip: Dennis Mc Dermott sold his famous and successful restaurant and one of my favorite places to hang out: the Frisky Oyster in Greenport. New Year’s will be his last night, and we wish his chef success after taking over. And the FOB is sold to Noah, the chef of the Seafood Barge.  Change is good!

So come be a part of the North Fork and check things out. Stay a while, and let me and Nicholas at Town and Country help you find a place to stay more permanently if you like! We look forward to meeting you and introducing you to our local friends.