Hamptons brokers split over sky-high pricing
Low inventory, stubborn sellers push asking prices over $100M
If there was a mood to describe perusing the Hamptons ultra luxury market, it would be déjà vu.
The same addresses often float on and off the market for years, tapping a new team of brokers for each stint and sometimes scoring a headline for their nine-figure price tags.
The tactic, known as aspirational pricing, isn’t unique to Long Island’s East End, though the area’s coveted oceanfront estates are prime candidates for what many consider wishful thinking. In a market consisting largely of second homes and stifled by low inventory, stubborn sellers cling to sky-high prices, bolstered by brokers hoping to pad their listings.
In the case of asking prices past $30 million, “it’s mostly just agents coming up with clickbait numbers,” James Giugliano, a broker with Nest Seekers in the Hamptons, said. “[Brokers] are just throwing lavish numbers out there to see if they can get lucky.”
Sellers are often to blame for the lofty sums, Giugliano said, especially in a discretionary market where many are able to wait for the right number. But he cautioned that knowningly pricing listings too high can skew market data, lengthening metrics like days spent on the market.
“I can’t stand it because it makes us look bad, and it makes the market look bad,” Giugliano said. “Their whole strategy is to overprice it, capture [clients] and then actually sell them other listings that may be more negotiable or priced more correctly.”
One of these regular re-listers is 366 & 376 Gin Lane, a four-acre oceanfront compound in Southampton. The two-mansion estate hit the market again last week, after nearly eight years of landing on and off the market with an asking price north of $100 million.
The property, known as La Dune, is owned by Louise Blouin, a Canadian art magazine publisher. Blouin, who primarily resides in Europe, has faced a slew of financial woes related to the property, including a $40 million loan balance and multiple bankruptcy filings to avoid foreclosure.
This time around, the estate is is being sold by a team of top-ranking brokers, including Bespoke’s Cody Vichinsky, Corcoran’s Tim Davis and Sotheby’s Harald Grant. Though advertised as “price upon request,” a previous listing on Bespoke’s website priced the compound at $150 million.
Davis described the asking price as starting point and said the seller is realistic about the potentially lower deal price.
“I don’t have a Pollyanna view of La Dune, that we’re all the sudden going to get a buyer for $150 million,” Davis said and added that he believes they will lock down an offer north of $100 million.
Even with a multi-million dollar reduction, the estate’s asking price is still ambitious for the luxury enclave, where few homes have sold for more than $100 million and none have surpassed $150 million. The closest sale in recent memory was Barry Rosenstein’s $147 million purchase of an East Hampton megamansion in 2014.
A nine-figure deal may seem far fetched, but it’s not unachievable. Earlier this month, 700 Meadow Lane sold for $112.5 million, marking one of the Hamptons’ most expensive deals in recent years. The home hit the market in 2021 with a $175 million asking price and dropped to $135 million earlier this year.
“[The Hamptons] is a market historically that has been able to achieve record prices,” Davis said.
Homes like La Dune are “very expensive, very rare trophy assets,” said Vichinsky, who was also the listing broker for 700 Meadow Lane.
As a result, sellers often double-down on the price they’re willing to attach to their property, leaving brokers to decide whether they’re game to take on the challenge.
In La Dune’s case, Vichinsky said he sees a path forward that might yield different results than previous attempts to sell.
“I think [the homes] have not been clearly marketed and illustrated as to what their value is,” Vichinsky said. But now, “the market has evolved, and the scarcity of these assets has become more clear.”