“I’ve got a blank check. Make it happen:” Hamptons brokers on the great coronavirus migration

The superrich are fleeing NYC in droves, pushing South Fork rental prices way up

The superrich are fleeing NYC in droves, pushing South Fork rental prices way up. (Credit: Sue via Flickr)
The superrich are fleeing NYC in droves, pushing South Fork rental prices way up. (Credit: Sue via Flickr)

The Moguls are on the move.

As coronavirus cases surge in New York City, the super rich are decamping for the Hamptons, setting off a spike in demand and pushing rental prices to levels normally not seen until the summer. And brokers dealing with this off-season demand have some wild tales to tell.

Nest Seekers International’s Dylan Eckardt

Nest Seekers International’s Dylan Eckardt

Nest Seekers International’s Dylan Eckardt told the Wall Street Journal about a well-heeled client getting in touch this month. “I got this call: ‘I’m on my way, driving out from the city. You’ve got to find me a house south of the highway with nine bedrooms, I want no one around me. I want a pool, a tennis court. I’ve got a blank check. Make it happen.’”

Eckardt, based in Bridgehampton, said he had “never seen a rental market like this.”

“We’re renting stuff that never rents in March. There’s not even a price for it, because it doesn’t happen,” he said.

Andrea Ackerman, of Brown Harris Stevens’ Bridgehampton office, told the publication about hearing from a client who Ackerman then asked about budget.

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Brown Harris Stevens' Andrea Ackerman

Brown Harris Stevens’ Andrea Ackerman

“She said, ‘I have no budget. I don’t need a big house. I could go three bedrooms, but I want Mid-century modern.’”

Eckardt said he found a 15,000-square-foot house for his client, who paid $150,000 for a 50-day period.

“He said he wanted his own cleaning people,” Eckardt recalled. “They pulled up in two cars — 11 people in white zip-up suits with masks, hairnets, booties, full-on rubber gloves. They cleaned the house for eight hours. They wanted us to video each room while they were doing it.”

But despite the business flowing in, Hamptonites should be worried about some of the problems that this influx could bring, according to Penelope Moore of Saunders & Associates in Shelter Island.

“The governor has put a moratorium on evictions,” Moore said. “If someone rents your house and then they get sick and are too sick to leave, you can’t evict them. If they lose their job and don’t have enough money to pay you, you can’t evict them. Landlords can only collect one month’s rent and a security deposit, by New York state law. The landlord is going to be at a huge risk.” [WSJ] — TRD Staff