The Hamptons’ home runs

In a market where high-end homes often hit stratospheric valuations, brokers are asking sellers to lower their expectations

290 Further Lane
290 Further Lane

One mansion sold for $18.7 million and another for $40 million, but the bookends of the 10 priciest home sales on Long Island’s East End last year told the same story: It was a buyer’s game.

Median Hamptons home prices peaked in 2018 — plateauing at nearly $1 million after rising for six consecutive years — and buyers are now driving down prices on luxury inventory, said brokers in the affluent enclave. Ongoing economic uncertainty has also rattled sellers, brokers said.

“All of a sudden people got real,” said Rylan Jacka, a broker at Sotheby’s International Realty who had a hand in one of 2018’s biggest trades. “They got serious and said, ‘I want to sell,’ [while] their brokers probably said, ‘Well, you’ve got to get down to this number.’ And they actually did it last year.”

A waterfront estate at 86 Bay Lane in Water Mill, for example, sat on the market for three years until the seller dropped the asking price to $18.7 million, down from the nearly $30 million it listed for in March 2015. Similarly, 290 Further Lane in East Hampton hit the market in September 2016 seeking $69 million, but it took a $29 million price chop when it sold last year for $40 million. And Water Mill’s Villa Maria listed for $100 million in 2008 but it went for $26.1 million a decade later.

“A lot of these [homes] that had been languishing on the market for years finally moved,” said Jacka, who handled the listing for the modernist Montauk oceanfront home at 240 Old Montauk Highway. It closed at $22.8 million, more than double what the property fetched in a previous sale six years earlier.

In some cases, drops in asks enticed enough buyers to boost the final sales price. Southampton’s 477 Little Plains Road hit the market seeking $25 million in 2012, but was repeatedly relisted in subsequent years at $22.5 million. It finally sold for $24 million in 2018.

134 Murray Place

“When we refer to a bidding war in the Hamptons, it still doesn’t go to the asking price,” Jacka said. “But last year I was able to sell a couple over ask because we’d lower it and then … people would come off the sidelines and make bids.”

One of Jacka’s listings, Amagansett’s 30 Laurel Hill, wasn’t enticing buyers with a $3.75 million ask until the price was reduced to nearly $3.5 million, he said. Three would-be buyers emerged, with one offering more than the reduced ask. The property sold for $3.75 million.

Deals that closed at or close to ask may have kept luxury prices strong. The luxury market — all homes priced above $5 million — had a median sales price of $7.85 million in the fourth quarter. That was a nearly 37 percent rise over the final quarter of 2017, when the median sales price was $5.75 million, according to data from Douglas Elliman. That has luxury brokers hopeful for a busy 2019.

“Now is a great time to buy,” said the Corcoran Group’s Gary DePersia, a veteran broker with a book of big istings from Southampton to Montauk. “Inventory is going to get absorbed. I think there are going to be buyers who are going to regret missing out on certain opportunities when they see the closing prices. They won’t necessarily be steals, but they’ll be fair deals.”

Some notable Hamptons homes that went to contract in December and didn’t close before year’s end missed the cut, including a Montauk compound owned by nightlife mogul and real estate investor Michael Hirtenstein that hit the market in early 2018 seeking $21 million, and late playwright Edward Albee’s former home nearby, which caught fashion designer Ralph Lauren’s eye late last year with a $20 million price tag.

“If buyers wait too long, they’re going to miss the boat,” DePersia said.

Here are the top 10 Hamptons home sales of 2018:

1. 290 Further Lane
East Hampton
Price: $40 million

The 10,000-square-foot home sitting on 6 oceanfront acres has seven bedrooms, nine and a half bathrooms and a spa wing with a whirlpool and exercise pool, as well as a roof deck, elevator and a path leading to a private beach. The mansion, designed in 1995 by late Hamptons architect Francis Fleetwood, was sold last year by the widow of James Marcus, a retired Goldman Sachs partner and former chairman of the Metropolitan Opera. The home listed for $69 million in 2016, and while its price was cut by $20 million in 2017, the final sale price made it the highest Hamptons home trade of 2018. Sotheby’s Frank Newbold and Edward and James Petrie and Charles Forsman of Compass had the listing.

2. 134 Murray Place
Price: $32 million

Hedge fund executive Leon Shaulov went into contract to acquire the 7,200-square-foot home in November 2017, but the sale didn’t close until the following February. The final price was about $3 million below its original ask. The four-bedroom, four-bath home sits on 2 acres, with 200 feet of private beach. The property is within Southampton’s gated Murray-McDonnell compound — an area once home to some of the East End’s most prominent families. Bespoke Real Estate’s Cody and Zachary Vichinsky had the listing.

615 Montauk Highway

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3. 615 Montauk Highway
Water Mill
Price: $26.1 million

The iconic 15-acre Villa Maria compound was
listed for $100 million when it first hit the market back in 2008, a price that was whittled to $72 million by early 2016. The former convent, until last year owned by late women’s footwear designer Vince Camuto, was broken up. The main 20,000-square-foot house ultimately sold for $26.1 million, and adjacent parcels were sold to a different buyer for $13 million. Built in 1887, the home’s notable residents have included President Martin Van Buren’s son and the Sisters of the Order of St. Dominic along with Camuto. The property has 11 bedrooms, 12 and a half bathrooms and a climate-controlled wine cellar as well as a gym, spa, guesthouse and carriage house with frontage along Mecox Bay. Bespoke’s Vichinsky brothers had the listing.

4. (tie) 477 Little Plains Road
Price: $24 million

The 6,500-square-foot mansion came on the market in 2012 with a $25 million ask and quickly had its price cut to $22.5 million. During the next five years, the 4-acre estate came on and off the market at that price — most recently in 2017 — before eventually selling for $1.5 million more than its reduced ask last year. The home, once owned by art collector Jan Cowles, has seven bedrooms, six bathrooms, rose gardens and an outdoor dining pavilion. Mary Ann Cinelli of Brown Harris Stevens had the listing.

121 Further Lane

4. (tie) 121 Further Lane
East Hampton
Price: $24 million

Lasata, or “place of peace” in algonquin, is the former childhood home of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The property first hit the market in September 2016 seeking $38.9 million. A 4-acre lot that was a part of that listing ultimately sold separately for $11.25 million. Until January 2018, the main 7-acre parcel was owned by Coach creative director Reed Krakoff and his wife, interior designer Delphine Krakoff. The 8,500-square-foot home, which was designed by architect Arthur Jackson in 1917, has 10 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and two half-bathrooms. Corcoran’s Susan Breitenbach, Peter Turino of Brown Harris Stevens and Elliman’s Carol Nobbs and Eileen O’Neill had the listing.

6. 240 Old Montauk Highway
Price: $22.8 million

The 2.2-acre property’s owner, financier Michael Goodwin Jr., bought the estate for $10.45 million in 2012 and completely renovated it the following year with the help of designer Robert McKinley. The 4,500-square-foot home has six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a yoga deck and 154 feet of ocean frontage. The final sale price included $500,000 for the bulk of the home’s midcentury furniture and other accoutrements. Sotheby’s Jacka and Dominique Garstin had the listing.

719 Ocean Road

7. 719 Ocean Road
Price: $22.7 million

Built in 1957, this 2,200-square-foot home with 700 feet of frontage on Sagg Pond was one high-end property that sold above ask last year. The 4.2-acre estate owned by late graphic designer Elinor Bunin Munroe hit the market for $19.5 million in August 2017, but found a buyer in February 2018. It has Atlantic Ocean views, distinct circular rooms, a parasol-shaped roof, two bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, although a new mansion could potentially rise in its place. Corcoran’s Linda Nasta and Matthew Breitenbach had the listing, although Breitenbach subsequently joined Compass.

8. 3 West Dune Lane
East Hampton
Price: $20 million

The 1.6-acre property ONCE belonged to
philanthropist Nedenia Hartley, daughter of financier Edward Francis Hutton and General Foods heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, who built President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Hartley, a former actress who used the stage name Dina Merrill, died in 2017. The private sale of her former East Hampton home was to the estate of her first husband, the late Colgate-Palmolive heir Stanley Rumbough Jr., which reportedly bought the property of behalf of their son Stanley Rumbough III. The former couple’s daughter, Nedenia Rumbough, bought another property, at 8 West Dune Lane, for $8.2 million in 2018.

79 Surfside Drive

9. 79 Surfside Drive
Price: $18.8 million

This 1.5-acre oceanfront property sold in
August after just three months on the market and a $2.7 million price cut. Built in 1980, the boxy 2,000-square-foot home has four bedrooms, two full bathrooms, two half-bathrooms and 140 feet of private ocean frontage. Should that home be demolished, the property can accommodate a new home of up to 10,000 square feet, as well as a pool and other amenities. Terry Cohen of Saunders & Associates had the listing.

10. 86 Bay Lane
Water Mill
Price:  $18.75 million

This 6,100-square-foot home has seven bedrooms, five bathrooms, two half-bathrooms and a service bar built to resemble the façade. The 4.6-acre estate also has a groundskeeper’s cottage and a dock on 300 feet of Mecox Bay frontage. It hit the market seeking almost $30 million in March 2015 but took a cut to $24.95 million just seven months later. Sotheby’s Harald Grant had the listing.