The Rental Market

The Hamptons is not as expensive as you think it is. Here's proof

By Lucy Cohen Blatter | July 23, 2015 - 11:59AM

There's a misconception that Hamptons houses, like Manhattan homes, are only attainable by the one percent. But as the latest Douglas Elliman market report for the area shows, the median price of a Hamptons home is actually well under a million — $849,000 to be exact (down 6.5 percent from the same time last year).

According to Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel and author of the second quarter report, sales are down 15.7 percent (but that's from a record-breaking 2014). "The market has stepped down from record pace it enjoyed last year," he says. "It's not that market is weak, though," he says. In fact, the average is up, while the median is down. "We have the outliers — the $20-million-plus properties, but the bread and butter of the market is the $1 to $5 million."

And, believe it or not, 56.8 percent of the market share in the Hamptons in under a million dollars. "It's the same parallel as Manhattan — everyone thinks it's a bunch of $5 million sales, but it's not," says Miller.

When it comes to the North Fork — that Hamptons neighbor that's also popular with city-dwellers — the median sales price is up, but the average is down. "I give more weight to the median anyway," clarifies Miller, since it's not disproportionately swayed by super high-end properties. 

"The median's been up year over year for the fifth consecutive quarter and sales have been up for four consecutive quarters," he says. "Inventory is down from a year ago [by 20 percent over a year ago for single-family homes]. The market feels tighter."

But, Miller explains, "The pace in the Hamptons is still faster ... the North Fork is just getting going," he says. And compared to the Hamptons, it's significantly more affordable: The median price, though 8.4 percent higher than the same time last year, is $517,400 — over $300,000 less than the Hamptons. And, if you're looking for a high-end property, the discounts in the North Fork are steep. The median price for luxury (highest 10 percent of all sales) in the North Fork is $1.35 million; in the Hamptons, it's $5.29 million.

Below, four homes in the North Fork and the Hamptons for around each area's respective median prices:

This three-bedroom, three-bath house is located on Main Street in Westhampton Beach. Asking price: $845,000.

This open floor-plan three-bedroom, two-bath in Wainscott was recently renovated. Asking price: $850,000.

Over in Greenport, on the North Fork, this two-family home has plenty of outdoor space with room for a pool. Asking price: $519,000.

A two-bedroom, one-bath cottage in Southold on the North Fork has an asking price of $529,000 — just a bit over the median.


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