A hot rental market defines The Hamptons this summer. Traditionally Memorial Day weekend kicks-off of the oh so busy summer season. Typically, renters are settling in, making dinner reservations while filling their social calendars. Brokers are busy showing prospective buyers multi-million-dollar properties from Amagansett to Southampton.
Like everywhere else life in The Hamptons is different now. From Mid-March on reports of New Yorkers fleeing the city for The Hamptons were splayed across the national media. Rentals were snapped up at above premium prices. Photos of celebrities happily biking, walking dogs, or grocery shopping around the Hamptons, appeared daily in People.
As summer fast approaches demand remains strong with shrinking inventory. Typical rental prices for the season are running from $100,000 plus to above $200,000 . That is if you can land one once it comes on the market. Though a nine-acre plus oceanfront to bayfront estate on Southampton’s Meadow Lane is available for $1.2 million from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
“A modern traditional” 4-bedroom with four and a half baths in Amagansett offers more than just a summer getaway. The $150,000 seasonal rental includes an SUV and coveted beach parking sticker for any of the East Hampton town beaches.
Listing Broker Sarah Minardi of Saunders & Associates East Hampton office reflects on the current rental scene. “I am entertaining buyers that are taking their stock market dollars and investing in a safe-haven should they need to move their family outside the city again. It’s a safeguard for their family,” Minardi observes. “And, of course, both the summer and extended rental markets, have made up a large percentage of my business over the last few months.”
JB D’Santos of Brown Harris Stevens, an affiliate of Luxury Portfolio International describes the rental frenzy. “The market continues to be on fire. When the virus first hit, I was getting about thirty-five inquiries a day. D’Santos is still inundated with well-heeled hopeful renters. “I don’t know where they will go since many homes are taken,” D’Santos confides.
Peggy Zabakolas with Nest Seekers International paints the picture she sees. “A major part of the market were homes that were not rented before. Now they have gone for premium prices since COVID.” Owners can get ready for a longer than typical rental season. “I have clients wanting to extend their rentals through December,” Zabakolas said. No surprise as top tier private schools in New York are unsure about Fall classes. If your child is going to do online learning it’s nicer to camp out in the Hamptons than an Upper Eastside co-op, no matter how spacious.
With summer camps and traditional European vacations canceled a trend Zabakolas reports are families joining in high-priced rentals. “That was unheard of before. With large properties, there is space both inside and out to work and play.” For brokers, some of these renters are potential buyers. “People are being spoiled by more square footage and outdoor space. Will New York be the same culturally once it reopens?” Zabakolas poses the question.
James Petrie of Compass’ East Hampton office points to the growing acceptance of virtual showings fueling the Hamptons’ rental market. “It’s become much easier to show a property virtually and have people move forward based on that showing alone.”
High net worth first-time buyers are viewing life in The Hamptons differently since COVID. Living there year-round is now possible since running your hedge fund remotely is becoming acceptable. ”We have seen the market quickly change with sellers now in a strong position,” observes Charlie Forsman of Compass.
Depending on the new reality Fall brings prices may continue to climb along with demand.