Hamptons Real Estate Prices Jump with New Yorkers Fleeing Pandemic

Even the Hampton’s most expensive mansion — developer Joe Farrell’s Sandcastle at 612 Halsey Lane in Bridgehampton — was taken off the market just a day after being listed. Photo Credit: TheRealDeal.com

By: Anthony Tartone

Real estate in the Hamptons can now be described by depictions of bidding wars, quick turnarounds, and scarce inventory.  Home prices have jumped up, and despite this, the inventory of homes available are selling out like hotcakes.  The market’s enthusiasm is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to an exodus out of New York City’s busy neighborhoods.  Not only are New Yorkers keen to get out of the virus’s epicenter, but the onset of remote working and virtual schooling have made it convenient to be in a place where one can enjoy some fresh air.

As reported by the NY Post, home prices in the Hamptons have soared to reach record highs.  The median sales price in the Hamptons leaped 27.1 percent, reaching $1.08 million during the second quarter of 2020, as per Elliman Report released July 23.  That median price had been at $850,000 last year at the same period. The move into the six figure prices, marks the highest median sales price level recorded in the report’s history.  “The pricing is not just up, but way up,” said the study’s author, appraiser Jonathan Miller. “We’ve seen more high-end sales.”

The Average Sales Price for homes in the Hamptons in the second quarter reached $2.09 million, which is a 21.1 percent jump from Q2 in 2019. The average sale price was notably higher than median price, because as in most prosperous periods, there were a few really big-ticket transactions that pulled up the average.

The boom in Hamptons house prices started with the affluent, who wanted to wait out the worst of the pandemic in the comfort of a country home.  Property rentals for March through Labor Day were snatched up as soon as they were listed.  Even the Hampton’s most expensive mansion — developer Joe Farrell’s Sandcastle at 612 Halsey Lane in Bridgehampton — was taken off the market just a day after being listed.  An anonymous magnate payed $2 million to rent the 21,000-square-foot home, with 10 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms, from mid-March through the first week of September.  The rush to rent there for the summer manifested itself into a rush to purchase homes, once the inventory of rentals was depleted.  “There’s somewhat of a herd mentality. There was an eagerness to lock in something out of the city for the summer,” Miller said. “And when rentals weren’t available, sales were the next best thing.”

While prices are soaring, the number of homes in listing inventory is falling. The Elliman study showed 1,906 Hamptons properties on the market in the second quarter, down 25.5 percent from the 2,557 homes listed for sale last year at the same time frame.  “Inventory fell at a significant rate because many homeowners in the beginning of the quarter pulled their listings,” said Miller, explaining that owners were fearful of the pandemic’s shutdown with no open houses allowed. “They were concerned of what the future looked like and would-be listers delayed listing because, again, this uncertainty that was pervasive.”  The houses that did remain on the market, sold out fast, however.  “Because of the lack of inventory, good homes are selling for higher prices,” said Douglas Elliman broker Enzo Morabito.

Despite all the good news, between April and June, the Hamptons saw 433 sales, which is 13.1 percent less than last year, and the lowest second-quarter sales total in 11 years, as divulged by the report. That decline represents the COVID-19 shutdown, and is nevertheless less drastic than the lowered number of sales in other parts of Long Island, including North Fork.