Going high on the East End: Ranking the priciest deals

Brokers in the Hamptons and North Fork say va-va-voom is coming back to the luxury market

Jul.July 05, 2017 12:00 PM

This 12-bedroom home on Actors Colony Road in North Haven sold for $33.8 million.

The luxury East End housing market has waned in the last year, following a national trend, but there are plenty of homes that are still selling for a pretty penny. And brokers say they have recently seen signs that high-end transactions may be picking up steam in the Hamptons, albeit after a bit of price negotiation. Meanwhile, the neighboring North Fork has seen prices surge in certain areas, though the all-around market is a mixed bag. The Real Deal took a look at the priciest home sales in both the Hamptons and the North Fork to see what’s going on at the high end of the market. 

Hampton’s top sales

The No. 1 spot on TRD’s ranking of the priciest single-family homes sales in the Hamptons from June 2016 to June 2017 is held by a three-parcel East Hampton property with a 7,600-square-foot lake-front home. It was listed for just under $55 million and sold for $50 million in a deal brokered by Bespoke Real Estate.

Second on the list is an 8,309-square-foot home on 4.5 acres at 1080 Meadow Lane in Southampton. The six-bedroom, six-bathroom pad sold for $38 million in September; the listing broker was not identified.

The No. 3 spot went to a 19,000-square-foot home at 26,28 and 32 Actors Colony Road in North Haven that was built in 1902. It was listed for $36.5 million by Corcoran and sold for $33.8 million.

A new 14,000-square-foot home on two adjacent lots on Quimby Lane in Bridgehampton sold for $33.5 million to claim the fourth spot on the list. The abode on Sagg Pond boasts a short walk to the ocean, and amenities include a theater, a tennis court and a saltwater pool with a spa, according to the listing. It was listed at $40 million, according to Bespoke.

Six of the top 10 sales were in Southampton, including No. 5, a 1,652-square foot home at 72 Gin Lane that went for $33 million, as well as a 2,500-square foot 1950 oceanview house at 328 Gin Lane that tied for No. 6, which was listed by Sotheby’s for $32 million and sold for $31 million in early May.

While none of the homes sold in the past 12 months broke any records, there are a handful of Hamptons homes on the market that could come close if they go for close to asking.

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In May, a home on Gin Lane hit the market at $145 million. The Southampton estate occupies 3.7 acres and, if sold for that price, would be the second most expensive home ever sold in the U.S. Known as La Dune, the property has two homes totaling 22,000 square feet and includes 22 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, two heated pools, a guesthouse, a tennis court, nine fireplaces, a gym, a library, a billiards room and 400 feet of beachfront.

In May, the famous talk show host Dick Cavett listed his 7,000-square-foot ocean-front home in Montauk for $62 million. The seven-bedroom home sits on 19 acres, overlooks the ocean and is bordered by 170 acres of parkland.

What the market says

Brokers are becoming more optimistic about the pace of sales in the Hamptons, which has seen an uptick in recent months, they say. At least five luxury homes sold for $20 million or more in the Hamptons in April and May, according to TRD’s review of closed deals, compared to just one in the first quarter.

East End brokers say enthusiasm among buyers willing to close on a $10 million or $20 million home is stronger, and that much of last year’s reluctance to buy, which they attribute to the contentious presidential election, is fading. And the strong stock market also doesn’t hurt.

“There’s been huge wealth creation, and as a firm, we’re having a very, very solid year and we’re up significantly over last year,” said Andrew Saunders, president of Saunders & Associates, referring to his firm’s overall performance through mid-June. He said his business saw a sharp upswing immediately after the 2016 election and registered an overall 20 percent increase in new deal origination during the first quarter, compared to the same period in 2016. “The current residential market is extremely busy,” he said.

John Gicking, a senior managing director at Compass, expressed similar sentiments. “I think [buyers] are coming back in a big way, recognizing that there’s a little bit more flexibility on behalf of sellers,” he said. “There’s been some significant price reductions on properties. And we’re seeing a lot of activity at all price points in terms of showings and offers.”

Still, the first-quarter numbers reflect a significantly slower luxury market than the year prior. While overall Hamptons transactions in the first quarter were strong — especially for homes under $5 million — the high end did not fare as well. The number of homes sold at $5 million and up fell 12.9 percent to 27, the lowest in three years, Douglas Elliman said in its first-quarter report. Listing discounts for luxury homes — defined as the top 10 percent of the market — grew to 16.2 percent compared to 8.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016, according to the report. Figures also showed that luxury listings spent 197 days on the market compared to 109 during the first quarter of 2016. In addition, the average sales price for luxury listings was $6.7 million in the first quarter, a 24 percent decline from last year’s first quarter.

“It’s fairly healthy on the low end,” said Paul Brennan, the executive manager of sales at Douglas Elliman. “I think it’s a bit sketchy on the high end, and the middle is hit-or-miss.” However, Brennan said that Southampton and East Hampton are doing better than other areas.

“I would say that if you’re a betting person, it’s a good time to buy,” Brennan said. “During the lull, it’s always the best time to buy.”

Cody Vichinsky, co-founder of Bespoke Real Estate, said his firm has been involved in “a record” 15 deals worth over $10 million this year. He acknowledged that some sellers are willing to lower prices but also believes activity is growing. “You’re seeing some adjustments in pricing, but it doesn’t mean it’s a feeding frenzy,” Vichinsky said.

Tim Davis of the Corcoran Group said he handled $125 million in sales during the first quarter, which he said was much higher than the same period last year.

“All in all, the market feels very strong. It’s quite price-sensitive, so I can’t tell you it’s a market where we’re seeing price increases,” Davis said. “We have properties that come to market that are quite special, and we’ve had bidding wars in several situations this year.”

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Joseph De Sane, the senior managing director of sales at Compass in Bridgehampton, also thinks high-end transactions are picking up pace. He pointed out that many sellers were reluctant to list their homes given the glut last year, but he said this year they are ready to go to market.

“Hot, hot, hot” on the North

Fork and Shelter Island?

The start of the year saw a mixed market on the North Fork, where homes are generally far less expensive than in its neighbor to the south. In the luxury sector, the average sales price rose a whopping 93.1 percent to about $3.5 million, according to the Elliman report. Thirteen luxury deals closed in the first quarter, compared to 14 in the first quarter of 2016.

However, sales overall fell 9.7 percent in the first quarter compared to the same quarter in 2016. This could have something to do with a lack of choice in the market, as there was a nearly 27 percent decline in listing inventory during the same period. But the average sale price surged 23.7 percent to $857,396 over the first quarter of 2016, the Elliman report said. A separate report from Corcoran noted that closings in Aquebogue and Jamesport were particularly strong in the first quarter. 

Topping TRD’s list of most expensive homes sold on the North Fork and Shelter Island is a 6,000-square-foot abode on Vanston Road in Cutchogue. The eight-bedroom house was listed by Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International and sold for $8.9 million.

Like the rest of the homes on the list, No. 2 is on Shelter Island. The 5,100-square-foot shingle-style house sits on 5.5 acres on Nostrand Parkway and sold for $8.3 million. The property includes a 1,900-square-foot guesthouse, the Saunders and Associates listing said, as well as 340 feet of beach frontage.

At No. 3 is a $6.3 million Shelter Island home on Clinton Avenue built in 1925. It has three bedrooms with 4,292 square feet of space. The brokerage involved was not identified. A 3,900-square-foot, four-bedroom home on Shelter Island with a waterside dining room took the fourth spot on the list. It sold for close to $4.8 million and was listed by Georgiana B. Ketcham Realty. And fifth place goes to a 2,710-square-foot, five-bedroom “restored 1888 shingle style farmhouse” located on Simpson Avenue in Montclair Colony. It sold for $4.2 million.

Corcoran broker Sheri Winter Clarry said that while it’s difficult to say how the rest of 2017 will play out,  the current pace of activity gives her reason to be optimistic. “The data that’s been published to date looks dreary,” she said. “But it doesn’t reflect how much the activity level has increased since then.” She described the present North Fork real estate market as “hot, hot, hot” and predicts it will remain so throughout 2017. But homes between $5 million and $12 million, she said, are not moving as fast as she would like.

“The market is doing well; it’s strong. I know there’s been hesitation in some areas,” she said. “We didn’t really experience downtime even around election and inauguration. There’s a demand, especially in the North Fork, and there’s a lack of supply.”

—Harunobu Coryne and Gina Moreno provided research for this article

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