Housing woes costs Hamptons its hipness

Priced out and turned off, young people lose interest in area

(Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)

(Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)

Is the Hamptons losing its cultural cachet? It may be in the eyes of the young people, who used to pack Long Island’s South Fork on weekends and over the summer.

Twenty- and 30-somethings are losing their desire to hang out in the Hamptons, the New York Times reported. Exorbitant housing costs are among the factors steering them elsewhere — to the detriment of some local landlords.

The Hamptons still holds plenty of allure, particularly to the rich and famous and those who want to get a whiff of celebrity air. But it’s less common now for young professionals and college graduates to pool resources to spend a week, weekend or longer in the Hamptons. Housing costs and restrictions on short-term rentals have made that untenable for many.

“Housing is probably the No. 1 driver of why the 20s and 30s are sort of retreating from the Hamptons,” land-use consultant Britton Bistrian told the Times. “They’ve been priced out just as much as working-class people have been priced out.”

The paucity of young visitors hampers the tourism economy of the region. It also means fewer options for owners who rent out their homes from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

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The summer rental market is expected to be even weaker this year than last, according to the New York Post, as more inventory is being listed and the easing of pandemic restrictions lures travelers to Europe and other overseas destinations.

But it’s still too pricey for much of the younger generation, as rents haven’t quite reset from the frenzied markets of 2020 and 2021. Along with the higher costs, more short-term rental rules and enforcement are deterring people from packing into rentals and pumping up the volume.

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Towns have also been cracking down on nightlife as the atmosphere around the Hamptons changed during the pandemic, leading more families to live in the community year-round (at least, those who can afford it).

There’s also a pushback against the wealth represented by the Hamptons, a perception that some no longer want to be associated with.

Holden Walter-Warner