The Real Deal New York

The Hamptons’ top luxury real estate agents

A ranking of the area’s biggest dealmakers by volume of listings

July 01, 2015
By Theresa Agovino

From left: Top broker Tim Davis with third-ranked Susan Breitenbach and Harald Grant, who has the number two spot.

From left: Top broker Tim Davis with third-ranked Susan Breitenbach and Harald Grant, who has the number two spot.

Like the constant flicker emitted from the Montauk Point Lighthouse, there are some things one can always depend on in the East End.

Among these articles of faith are that a handful of brokers usually wind up with the fanciest listings, the types of properties that boast multiple structures, spare-no-expense finishes and panoramic water views — and that come with at least seven-figure price tags.

Indeed, the top residential brokers in The Real Deal’s roundup, which examined who had the biggest share of exclusives and co-exclusives of $5 million or more, turned up many familiar faces. The number-one slot, for instance, went to Tim Davis, of the Corcoran Group, a 30-plus year Hamptons veteran.

But lately, some of these same faces might be a tad less cheerful. While overall the Hamptons housing market enjoyed robust conditions, the high-end market was soft in the first quarter, and the sales statistics from the just-ended second quarter are expected to show more of the same, brokers say.

In the first quarter, the median sales price in the luxury segment — the top 10 percent of deals —was $5.5 million, according to Douglas Elliman, which was down 21 percent from the fourth quarter of 2014, when the median was about $7 million. The price was also down slightly from the first quarter of 2014, when the median was $5.7 million. 

“We’re vulnerable to changes in the world economy,” said Diane Saatchi, an associate broker with Saunders & Associates, who came in at No. 8 with $171 million in listings.

But if the luxury market is meh, sellers don’t seem to have gotten the message — the prices are still steep.

Davis, the decisive first-place finisher with about $615 million in listings in early June, for example, has nine homes at $20 million or more, plus two others that were likely in that range but were listed at undisclosed prices on his website. Davis declined to comment on the rankings.

Chief among these pricey listings is Villa Maria at 51 Halsey Lane in Southampton, a co-exclusive that Davis shares with other agents, including Sotheby’s Harald Grant (ranked #2). That 1919 home, which actually comes with a total of four-contiguous lots and could present development opportunities, brokers say, is listed at $85 million, which makes it the Hamptons second most-expensive listing.

From left: 81 Briar Patch, 207 and 217 Highland Terrace

From left: 81 Briar Patch, 207 and 217 Highland Terrace

Grant, meanwhile, had $419 million in properties for sale. Besides Villa Maria, his exclusives include a six-bedroom bluffside estate in North Haven called Angel View, at 6 Bay View Court. It’s at $49 million. Still, Grant noted that the market seemed slow.

“No one has to buy a house in a second-home market,” said Grant, who blamed the slowdown on a weak Euro.

In third place was Susan Breitenbach of the Corcoran Group, who had $366 million in total listings. Topping her list is a 15,000-square-foot contemporary on Sagg Pond, in Sagaponack, at 207 and 217 Highland Terrace. A co-exclusive with Saatchi, of Saunders, the home, which is under construction and is unlikely to be ready before August, is listed at $43 million, but can be sold in two parcels. 

In fourth place were brokers (and brothers) Zachary and Cody Vichinsky of Bespoke Real Estate. The pair had a combined $347,1250,000 in exclusive co-listings.

Next on the list is Gary DePersia, of Corcoran, who has been involved with $1.5 billion in deals in the Hamptons since 1995, according to his official bio. In June he had nearly $277 million in listings.

In terms of specific submarkets, East Hampton remains sluggish, DePersia said, echoing comments from other brokers. Some said a new traffic light in Wainscott has made summer traffic on Route 27 even slower than usual, making the trek out to East Hampton that much more arduous. But Montauk, which is even farther east, seems be faring okay, brokers say.

DePersia says print advertising helps him nab so many properties — he has a hefty three-dozen listings or so for $5 million and above. “It’s hard to miss me out there,” he said; repeat clients help, too.

Beate Moore, an associate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty, had $235 million in listings, to earn a sixth-place finish. Her priciest, an exclusive, is 321 Gin Lane in Southampton, an oceanfront four-bedroom on nearly three acres at $35.5 million. But since it came on at $39 million this spring, the house has been discounted twice. 

“I think the prices will continue to come down, but that’s not necessarily negative,” Moore said. “Everybody thinks they can just slap a house deal together, and it doesn’t work that way.”

In seventh place was Michaela Keszler, an associate broker with Douglas Elliman, who had $227 million in listings. Among them is an exclusive for the getaway belonging to actor Richard Gere, a six-acre estate at 26 North Colony Road in North Haven, which is listed at $47.5 million. Called Strongheart Manor, and built in 1902, the property, which has a 12-bedroom main house, hit the market initially at $65 million in 2013, when it was listed with Sotheby’s. Keszler did not return a call for comment.

Next on the list is Peter Turino, an agent with Brown Harris Stevens, whose $207 million in properties netted him an eighth-place slot. Though with just nine qualifying listings, his largest exclusive is a doozy, an 11-acre spread on Georgica Pond, at 90 Briar Patch Road in East Hampton Village, going for $140 million.

Called Briar Patch, the estate, which boasts 1,156 feet of pond frontage, has a renovated Depression-era home, as well as a 60-foot swimming pool and four-car garage, and is subdivided, so developers may flock. Chris Whittle, who founded the Avenues private-school chain, put it on the market with Turino last November, and Briar Patch has not undergone any price cuts since. Turino could not be reached
for comment.

In ninth was Saatchi, of Saunders, with $171 million, which included another Briar Patch property, at No. 81, which is listed at about $29 million. Also facing Georgica Pond, the property contains a 10,000-square-foot main house that incorporates the remnant of a Stanford White-designed balcony-lined studio that has been re-oriented to face the water. A 2,000-square-foot, two-bedroom guest house is also on the property, whose developer was Jeffrey Collé.

Hamptons-Broker-Chart

The Briar Patch estate has been around, too. In 2010, Corcoran listed it for about $40 million; Saunders picked up the listing last fall. 

“East Hampton is like our Upper East Side,” Saatchi said. “It doesn’t have the vibe or hipness of Sagaponack or Montauk.” Indeed, she added, the area, along with Amagansett, had the lowest absorption rate in the Hamptons in June.

The number 10 slot goes to Vincent Horcasitas of Saunders & Associates, with $116,124,000 in qualifying listings.

Next is Erica Grossman, a saleswoman with Douglas Elliman. She had seven qualifying luxury listings, at $108 million. The biggest of the bunch: a 6,700-square-foot house designed by Francis Fleetwood in 2003, on Squabble Lane in Southampton, at $40 million. Davis, of Corcoran, is the co-lister.

The house, with both pond and oceanfront frontage, was initially listed at almost $46 million a year ago and went into contract last summer, according to news reports. But it’s unclear why that deal sputtered. Grossman declined to talk about it, saying only that “it’s one of the best properties on the ocean right now.”

Rounding out the list was Enzo Morabito, an associate broker with Douglas Elliman who focuses on a slice of the market: Bridgehampton to Westhampton Beach. He had $99 million in listings, according to the TRD analysis, including 20 Dune Road in Quogue, a 1988 home called Four Winds owned by soap star Susan Lucci with 150 feet of ocean frontage. It was at about $20 million, for Morabito’s priciest listing.

Correction: The original version of this article excluded Saunders & Associates broker Vincent Horcasitas, who ranked #9 with $116,124,000 in listings volume. Bespoke Real Estate provided The Real Deal with data showing that their brokers Zachary and Cody Vichinsky had a combined $347,1250,000 in exclusive co-listings as of June 9, putting them at #4 in this ranking. HREO’s data did not reflect these listings as exclusives. This article has been updated to reflect these changes.

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