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Top Hamptons Brokers Turn Up  Heat with Shorter Sales Season

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This year, the number 1 spot in The Real Deal’s ranking of the top real estate brokers of the East End went to the duo Zachary and Cody Vichinsky, who started Bespoke Real Estate three years ago and have close to $1 billion in exclusive listings. 

The brother power duo exclusively handles the most expensive properties. As of early June, they had 36 listings that accounted for a combined total that was slightly over $969 million. The siblings’ brokerage took the number 6 stop in The Real Deal’s ranking of East End Brokerages, since they are in on all the firms deals. 

Zachary Vichinsky told TRD, “We have a myopic focus on the high end of the market. Our business model is strictly related to the high end, $10 million and up.” 

Zachary told TRD that Bespoke already closed on its 15th deal for more than $10million this year by mid-June. Even the Villa Maria, which was on and off the market for almost 10 years and is a 28-room former nunnery, is sparking buyers’ interest, according to Zachary. This 15-acre estate has gone through multiple price changes; last year they dropped the price down to $72 million from $100 million in 2008. Zachary said, “At this point, it’s a value property.”

According to TRD, “The prevalent theme among the top brokers TRD spoke to was that the year got off to a slow start, but come June, buyers came a-knocking and the market started rocking — or if not rocking, picking up a substantial amount of steam, albeit at lower price points. The spring’s cold, wet weather and a creeping shift in the sales season, which brokers say now starts in late June and July instead of Memorial Day, all contributed to the slower start.

While average prices in the first quarter lagged behind those of the year-ago quarter by 8.9 percent, the overall number of sales was up 8 percent, the result in part, brokers said, of a reluctance to buy last year due to the uncertainty surrounding the election. The decline in the luxury segment — the top 10 percent of the market — was most defined in the first quarter, with the average sales price down a steep 24.1 percent to $6.7 million and the number of sales dropping by 6.7 percent year over year. Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel real estate appraisers and consultants, said there was a lot less activity in the $5 million-and-up range but that high-end sales were starting to recover in the second quarter.” 

Miller told TRD, “Going into the spring, we’re seeing more of those sales occur, and therefore the market feels better than it did in the last couple of quarters.”

The upturn in activity in the market could be attributed to high-end properties decreasing their asking prices on average by 16.2 percent in this first quarter, which was close to double the rate of discounting during this quarter a year ago. 

Sotheby’s International Realty’s Harald Grant, whose $402 million in exclusive listings earned him fourth place in TRD’s rankings for this year, said, “They have to make it attractive. For the average 2-acre property in Southampton that is asking $12 million, $9.5 million is perceived as good value.”

The properties that are doing the best are in the $1 million to $5 million part of the market. 

Christopher Burnside, a broker with Brown Harris Stevens, which ranked number five for TRD’s top East End brokerage firms, said, “Properties at $2 million to $3 million in Bridgehampton and Water Mill, I could sell all day long. New construction in the $3 million-to-$4 million range is also very busy.”

By Hannah Hayes

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