Real Estate

A beachfront residence is seen in East Hampton, New York.
Jeffrey Basinger | Reuters

The average price for a house in the Hamptons hit a record $3 million in the first quarter, highlighting a shortage of trophy beach homes for sale and the resilience of wealthy buyers.

The average sales price in the New York beach community jumped 18% in the first quarter to $3.1 million, according to a report from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel. The average price in the Hamptons is now more than $1 million higher than the average sales price in Manhattan. That marks the largest gap between the two markets since data started being collected in 2005, according to Miller Samuel.

The surge reflects the continued shortage of homes listed for sale, along with sustained demand from wealthy homebuyers looking for a piece of the coveted Hamptons real estate. Brokers say that despite stock market volatility, rising mortgage rates, layoffs in tech and finance and fears of recession, the wealthy are still bidding and buying.

“We have more buyers than sellers,” said Todd Bourgard, CEO of Douglas Elliman’s Long Island, Hamptons and North Fork region. “The buyers are out there.”

The high end of the Hamptons market is the strongest. In the luxury market — representing the top 10% of sales — both the median and average sales price broke records during the first quarter, with the average luxury price surging 33% to $16.1 million, according to Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel.

More than 14% of sales in the luxury market were the result of bidding wars, Miller said.

“The high end remains unfazed to a certain degree,” he said. “You have people who are making moves with less concern for the macro environment.”

The Hamptons saw a number of mega-home sales in the first quarter. A 6.7-acre estate in East Hampton sold for $91.5 million in March, more than twice what it sold for in 2020. A 3,000-square foot home in Montauk once owned by Bernie Madoff sold for $14 million. A modern, 5,500 square-foot oceanfront home in Bridgehampton sold in an off-market deal for around $35 million, brokers say.

Even small homes in the Hamptons are fetching big prices: A mobile home in the Montauk Shores community sold for $3.75 million.

The lack of homes for sale, however, has led to a sharp drop in total deals. Sales volume in the first quarter plunged 57% to their lowest level in 14 years, according to Miller Samuel. While the inventory of listed homes increased by one-third from the first quarter of 2022, inventory is still about half the pre-Covid levels, Miller said.

Brokers add that many of the current listings are over-priced, making the number of sellable homes even lower. Brokers say that while demand from wealthy buyers is strong, they’re disciplined on price and refuse to pay the peak prices of 2021 and early 2022.

“A lot of properties coming on to the market are not priced right,” Miller said.

Brokers say sales could pick up over the summer, if more homes come on the market.

“As we go into spring and start heading into the summer, I think the market will get stronger,” Bourgard said.

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