Licensed as Timothy G. Davis, Lic. Assoc. R.E. Broker At The Corcoran Group
The New York Observer-6/22/2011
Now two years distant from the brutal real estate downturn of two years ago - when so-called "Lehman" homes, named after the troubled investment bank, sold for 30% off their peak prices ? realtors report that demand is up and some measure of stability has returned to the market.
It helps, noted Martha Gunderson, senior director at Brown Harris Stevens, that it was a cold winter ? buyers showed up in early spring to start shopping, she said. Helping even more is that sellers are finally being more realistic about what their homes can fetch. "Owners are more flexible with price," she said.
Add to that a boom in telecommuting and favorable foreign currency ex-changes and local brokers have reason to be smiling more. "We have more people even moving out here on a full time basis," said Bill Stoecker, senior vice president at Town and Country Real Estate. [With] the weak dollar versus overseas currencies, especially the euro, there are more foreign buyers as well."
While "still not back at 2007 levels ... the market is healthy," said Marilyn Clark, senior vice president at Sotheby's International Realty based in Bridgehampton. "There is a lot of confidence again."
What do homes cost now? According to Corcoran broker Beth Marano, "high-end Hamptons home prices range from $3 million for a home north of the highway on one acre, while the same high-end home will cost $7 million south of the highway." Consider a 12,000-square-foot?home on East Hampton's Middle Lane. Boasting 10 bedrooms, 12.5 baths, 12.5 acres, and tennis courts it was listed eight years ago for $21 million. It recently came back on the market at $10 million.
For her clients, Ms. Clark said the two most popular price ranges this summer are $8 million ? $10 million and $20 million ? $30 million. But there have been a number of transactions in the $45 million price range. What, exactly, does that get you? A home in Bridgehampton that is on the market for $59.5 million dollars brags 30,000 square feet, n.5 acres, and, if Tony Hawk comes by, a skateboard half pipe.
But in the years since the economic downturn, even big-time buyers become more budget-conscious, said Bill Williams, broker at Sotheby's International Realty. "It's not like 2008 when people would spend outrageous amounts of money," he said. "Prices have stabilized." Nor is it a time of aggressive bargain-hunting, he added. Mr. Williams said that today, buyers aren't necessarily seeking out the lowest price, but rather, looking for homes that they feel are worth what they are spending.
So what does the typical Hamptons buyer wan t today? Brokers say buyers are feeling friendly, and are looking for property that will allow them to entertain extensively. Acreage is key too, but so, increasingly, is privacy. Tennis courts are seeing an uptick in popularity. Then there's the usual: high ceilings, stainless-steel appliances and granite in the kitchens.
127 Main Street, East Hampton. TIM DAVIS
There's a fad for finished basements, the more elaborate, customized and tricked-out the better. Corcoran associate broker Gary DePersia has seen basements turned into bowling alleys, squash courts, gyms with rock climbing walls and home theaters with cinema-style bells and whistles. Addition-ally, brokers say that for outdoor spaces, pools, bluestone patios and pergolas have all become more sought-after. Lights powered by solar and geothermal energy are a trend as well. And even though a traditional, beachy, and cedar-shingled home is the area standard, more contemporary homes are hit-ting the market. Ms. Clark has shown a state of the art modern house on 144 Meadowlark Lane in Bridgehampton for $11.9 million.
Mr. Stoecker's pitch to potential buyers, or renters, in the East End is simple: "Got to get here."