Hamptons Real Estate Skyrockets, with Trailer Parks Selling for Millions
By: Benyamin Davidsons
We have all heard about how home prices in the Hamptons have soared since the pandemic. Now, even trailer homes on Montauk’s shores are closing in million-dollar contracts.
As reported by the NY Post, last week an off-market oceanfront trailer, located on Edgewater Drive, broke records entering a contract to sell for $3.75 million. The trailer park’s previous highest recorded sale was for $1.8 million in 2022. “The Ditch Plains area in general is very special. It is an oasis for surfers and beachgoers, and in the past several years has been subject to an extraordinary amount of growth and transformation,” said Will Gold of The Atlantic Team at Douglas Elliman, who represented the unnamed buyer in the deal. The 800-square-foot mobile home was custom-built by John Hummel, featuring two-bedrooms, two-bathrooms and high-end finishes with a modern beach vibe, fetching an astonishing $5,000 per-square-foot in the contract which is set to close next month.
The Montauk Shores mobile-home park condominium was officially started in 1976,, making it the first trailer-park condo association in New York State. As per the Post, decades ago, Montauk shores was a modestly priced haven that attracted fishermen, surfers and blue-collar workers looking for a year-round ocean front haven with easy living. The residents were in for the long term and though in many cases the trailers were scruffy-looking, the residents made a vibrant and tight-knit community. The lot includes 152 individually owned lots and 47 leased sites, for a total of roughly 200 homes. The lot boasts property amenities including a community clubhouse for residents, a heated swimming pool, a playground, and basketball court.
“Back then, you could rent them for $50 a month,” Ken Hilderbrandt, 85, told The Post, referring to the dilapidated trailer he bought for $96,500 in 1998. Hilderbrandt had sold his boat to purchase his beachfront trailer in Montauk. The trailer was run-down, but it sat on a 1,972-square-foot lot of land. Years later, he built a new two-bed, two-bath modular home with a wraparound porch, knocking down the old one, investing roughly $100,000 to remodel. Today, his 1,200-square-foot mobile home can easily fetch $60,000 in a three-month summer rental, which he told the Post would be enough to send one of his grandkids to college. Still, he said he wouldn’t even think of selling the property for less than $5 million.
The beachfront row of modest abodes has lured some big names including, musician Jimmy Buffet, Vitaminwater co-founder Darius Bikoff, hedge-fund manager Dan Loeb and film producer Karen Lauder. “The people who are buying in there [Montauk Shores] are no longer firemen from New York City who want to go surfing on the weekend, they’re people who have a lot of money for a second home who say ‘I want to be right where the surf break is,’” Dave Rutkowski, owner of John’s Drive-In, told The Post. “It’s wild to think that a trailer could ever sell for that much money.”
Though longtime owners and locals at Montauk’s shores say they are thrilled about the increase in their home values, they don’t always appreciate the new millionaire neighbors who use the units just as changing rooms in the summer months. “Personally, I don’t think it’s all that good. The people with money that are moving in don’t really want to be part of the community. We have functions all year long — barbecues, Fourth of July parties. Years ago, there were more residents partaking in these,” said Chris Pare.