Hamptons real estate booming amid COVID-19

Real Estate

The pandemic may be raging, but Hamptons real estate couldn’t be healthier.

In just three months, from October to December, people snapped up an eye-popping $2.159 billion worth of property on the East End, with the sale of just 844 homes.

That’s up 133% from the last quarter of 2019, when folks spent $924.82 million on 503 homes, according to a new market report from Corcoran. 

Altogether, in 2020, people spent $5.49 billion on Hamptons real estate, breaking the last record of $4.42 billion set in 2014, according to a different market report released by Brown Harris Stevens. 

Experts said the surge in Hamptons home sales can be directly tied to the pandemic, as people left the city to find more space to live in during lockdown, if they could afford it, and then they left over security concerns following a rise in crime over the summer.  

“When the pandemic hit, buyers looked to alternative spaces to high rise living and the Hamptons were the natural choice. It’s within driving distance, it’s beautiful and there was lots of inventory, although now most of the inventory has been absorbed and prices have steadily climbed,” Corcoran CEO Pam Liebman said. 

Low interest rates also “helped money go further so people could stretch and buy what would otherwise have been out of their price range,” Liebman said.

The most expensive home currently on the market is a $175 million beach mansion on Meadow Lane. 

Both firms say that most of the homebuyers were from the tri-state area and concentrated in Manhattan.

“It’s pretty crazy. It’s a total record and sales prices also reached an all time high. It’s the most sales we’ve seen,” said Liebman. 

The biggest change, Liebman said, is that the Hamptons is now a “year round community” and no longer just a summer playground for the rich. 

“People aren’t just there for a couple of months a year,” Liebmnan said. “It’s now a full-time residence or a place to enjoy part time but all year round.” 

The most popular place to buy was Quogue Village and Quogue, which saw a whopping 225% year over year increase in sales — people bought 26 homes in the fourth quarter of 2020, up from just eight homes in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The sales volume is even more striking, as it jumped 388% — from $16.57 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 to $80.83 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. 

Home sales also soared in Amagansett, where Gwyenneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson own beach digs, jumping 164%, from 14 homes in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 37 homes in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Salves volume also skyrocketed 214% from $42.97 million to $134.87 million during the same period. 

In addition, throughout the Hamptons, the average price was up 39% to $2.55 million and the median price was up 58% to $1.58 million.

Home sales over $2 million in total jumped 156%.

In Southampton Village, the average price was up 88% and the median price was up 65% — thanks to nine sales over $10 million, compared to none in that price range during the fourth quarter of 2019.

The most expensive sale during the fourth quarter was 15 West Dune Lane in East Hampton Village, which sold for $61 million. 

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The kitchen of 15 West Dune Lane in East Hampton, which sold for $61M, making it the most expensive sale during the fourth quarter of 2020.

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The sprawling estate features two properties along the Atlantic Ocean, all on 3.4 acres beside a 90-acre golf course.

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The number of home sales over $5 million also tripled from the last quarter of 2019 to the last quarter of 2020 and the average price of a luxury home — the top 10% of the market — jumped 24% to $9.54 million, according to the Corcoran report.

But home sales also soared in the $1 million to $5 million range, added Jonathan Miller, a real estate appraiser who penned a third market report, by Douglas Elliman. 

“I think it is important to note that not only was there a surge in a record number of sales, but prices market wide set new records because there has been a shift to the upper half of the market,” Miller said.

“The biggest growth in actual sales activity was within $1 and $5 million, where sales more than tripled,” Miller said. “The same thing happened in Manhattan. The demand is coming from the city. People are realizing that they can live in the Hamptons full time because of Zoom. That’s something that was a byproduct of the pandemic — the discovery of Zoom as something that actually works.”

During the last three months of 2020, there were 361 home sales that closed between $1 million to $5 million. That’s a 208.5% increase of the 117 homes in the same price range that sold during the last quarter of 2019. 

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