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Well Before Summer, Hamptons Luxury Real Estate Is Scorching

A bidding war broke out last year for a 14-bedroom 1891 mansion on two acres in East Hampton Village. Listed at $24.5 million, the property sold for $25.75 million.

ering the bulkheads and merchandising the seductive strata of housing stock (from darling shingled cottages to resorts-masquerading-as-mansions), with brokers forecasting yet another pricey summer season. “Nobody really suffers from Hamptons sticker shock anymore,” said Judi Desiderio, the founder of Town and Country Real Estate.
Harald Grant, a senior vice president of Sotheby’s International Realty, has already rented out an oceanfront house in Southampton for $550,000 for the month of August alone and has a stack of 14 contracts and purchase memos on his desk representing pending sales of $4.5 million to $25 million. Not to worry: the most expensive oceanfront property in the Hamptons, on East Hampton’s Lily Pond Lane and co-listed by Tim Davis of the Corcoran Group and Diane Saatchi of Saunders & Associates, is still available for $40 million.
For high-rolling renters, Mr. Grant has a trio of oceanfront rentals in Southampton that can be had for the summer for $400,000, $600,000 or $800,000. Why pay $25 million to buy, and more to maintain, a summer getaway when you can rent and run? Or, for a million or so, you can rent year round.
“But in general what’s different this season,” Mr. Grant said, “is that in the mind of most buyers, less is more, and nobody wants to be the king of the hill and flaunt their wealth the way people were doing before the recession.
“Folks who spent $20,000 for a month’s rental,” he continued, “may be looking to spend $15,000. Folks who could be driving a Rolls-Royce are settling for a Mercedes. People aren’t saying, ‘I have to have it; I’ll pay anything,’ and writing checks on the spot. An owner who says, ‘I want $32 million for my oceanfront house’ probably isn’t going to get it. He’ll get somewhere in the mid-20s.”
But only if the house has a pool, a tennis court and central air-conditioning; just being oceanfront isn’t enough anymore.
Still, abundant deals are to be had for perceptive buyers who don’t require fur vaults, wine caves or home theaters.
“I just sold a wonderful house for $2.9 million in Southampton Village,” Mr. Grant said. “Five bedrooms, five bathrooms and a pool on half an acre. My clients would have liked a tennis court, but instead of spending $5 million, they scaled back a bit and they’re happy and comfortable with that decision.”

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