Compass aims to grow its North Fork agent count fivefold

Brokerage is up to six agents and plans for 30

Clockwise from top left: Eric and Bridget Elkin, Diane Mollica, Liz and Lisa Gillooly and Sarah Frigo (Compass)
Clockwise from top left: Eric and Bridget Elkin, Diane Mollica, Liz and Lisa Gillooly and Sarah Frigo (Compass)

Compass is planning an aggressive expansion on the North Fork as the market becomes increasingly like an extension of the Hamptons.

The firm, which entered the market in March 2021, has opened an office at 54100 Main Road, Southold, and recruited three teams since the start of the year. In the months ahead, it plans to grow its agent count from six to 30 and could open a second location in Greenport.

“It used to be you had a Hamptons buyer and a North Fork buyer, but now there’s a pretty significant overlap,” said Eric Elkin, of Compass’ Elkin Team, which he leads with his wife, Bridget. “That overlap is the driving force for them wanting to build their presence here.”

The Elkins were Compass’ first North Fork team. Since January, they have been joined by Diane Mollica, who came from Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International; the Gillooly Team, which migrated from Corcoran; and Jennifer Benton, who defected from Century 21.

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North Fork, like the Hamptons, has seen demand — and prices — spike during the pandemic. As New Yorkers sought to spend more time in what had been weekend and summer communities, finding Hamptons homes to buy or rent has become increasingly difficult. That same dynamic played out in the more agrarian, less bougie towns north of Peconic Bay, compounded by spillover demand from folks priced out of the Hamptons.

Inventory in the Hamptons has been hovering near record lows. In the first quarter it was down 42 percent from a year ago while the median sale price rose 7.7 percent to $1.4 million.

A similar trend has played out on the North Fork, where inventory has declined for nine consecutive quarters and fell to its lowest level ever in the first quarter of this year. The paltry number of listings presents a challenge for agents and brokerages, although they have benefited from higher prices and faster sales.

Buyers had to win a bidding war for 40 percent of homes that sold and the median sale price rose 13 percent to $848,000. Ten years ago the median price on the North Fork was $430,000.

The rental market has seen a similar spike. Some homes in the Hamptons are going for more than $1 million a month and middle-class renters have found it harder than ever to keep a foothold. Elkin said the North Fork has an oversupply of rental homes, but that is because owners have raised their prices so much.

“Prices have been reset. What things are renting for this year is 20, 40, 50 percent higher than what we’ve seen five years before,” he said. “I think we’ve re-established what the going rate is.”

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