Hot in the Hamptons

A look at the priciest home sales in five of the South Fork’s best-known towns

101 Lily Pond Lane
101 Lily Pond Lane

As the summer kicks into full gear, the residential market on Long Island’s East End continues to enjoy relatively robust prices, thanks to both the economy and the continued low interest rates.

The median first quarter sales price in the Hamptons rose 4.6 percent to $920,500 from the same period last year, according to a report by Douglas Elliman, and sales activity increased 2.5 percent.

Luxury inventory in the Hamptons fell 42 percent, amid increased demand for high-end homes. Without a significant new supply of homes entering the market and with land so scarce, this trend is expected to continue.

Hamptons Luxury Market

The priciest deal of the past 12 months was the $55 million sale of 101 Lily Pond Lane in East Hampton. The 5,500-square-foot property — which also includes a three-bedroom guest house, tennis court, small spa and pond — was snatched up by frequent Hampton buyer Scott Bommer, founder of hedge fund SAB Capital, who is known for flipping properties.

East Hampton’s highest profile deal was the sale of actress Renée Zellweger’s beach house, which traded in November for a quarter of a million dollars more than the $4.45 million asking price. Zellweger bought the four-bedroom farmhouse at 30 Egypt Lane for $2.15 million in 2003 and sold it to Jeffrey Geller, an orthopedic surgeon, and Leigh Geller, a former Manhattan assistant district attorney. The listing broker was Douglas Elliman’s
Linda Haugevik.

But offerings on the East End aren’t limited to exorbitantly priced homes or celeb deals.
“With properties at various price points, there is wide appeal,” said Beate Moore, a senior global advisor with Sotheby’s International who currently has 18 listings in the Hamptons ranging from $2 million to $35 million. She took fifth place in The Real Deal’s ranking of top Hamptons luxury brokers on page 26.

Moore helped broker Southampton’s most lucrative sale over the past year when she represented James Tisch, the hotel mogul and CEO of Loews Corporation, who shelled out $41 million for an 11-room oceanfront estate at 576 Meadow Lane.

The town of Southampton saw an 8 percent jump in sale prices this past year, according to a report from Saunders & Associates, thanks in part to Sag Harbor, which has become increasingly popular in recent years. Sag Harbor is home to two new luxury condominium complexes — Watchcase, where 64 lofts, townhouses and bungalows are being converted from an historic 1881 Bulova factory; and Harbor’s Edge, a project with 15 two- and three-bedroom units that will range in price from $2.5 to $6.5 million. Both offer swimming pools, fitness centers and spectacular views.

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More than a third of the 64 units at Watchcase, which are priced between $1 and $10 million, have already gone into contract. Completion is scheduled for next winter.

Brokers say the new condos appeal to Hampton homeowners looking to downsize, longtime renters looking to buy and Europeans who don’t want to be tied down by homeownership.

In fact, homes in the $1- to $5-million range are the hottest properties on the market throughout the East End, accounting for 38 percent of sales in the first quarter of 2015, up from 36 percent last year, according to a report from Corcoran.

“Lower interest rates are prompting many people who have previously rented homes for the summer to make an investment,” said Joan Hegner, a broker with Corcoran in Montauk.

Hegner sold Montauk’s priciest property — at $7.8 million — in May. The four-bedroom house at 380 Old Montauk Highway was designed by Robert A.M. Stern. In January, Hegner sold a two-bedroom home at 66 Surfside Avenue for $7.5 million.

But one- and two-bedroom ranch homes  in Montauk can still be had for less than $1 million.

“I don’t think Montauk has yet hit its stride,” said Paul Brennan of Douglas Elliman, who is handling Montauk’s priciest listing by far: Andy Warhol’s $85 million estate at 16 House Cliff Drive.

“Montauk is today what Sag Harbor was 10 years ago,” Brennan said. “But changes are coming.”

Correction: The original version of The Real Deal’s top sales roundup incorrectly cited Sotheby’s International’s Rylan Jacka as the listing broker for 84 Surfside Avenue. This story has been updated to show that Ray Lord of Douglas Elliman actually brokered the sale.