Second Home Market Showcase: The Hamptons

By Linsey Stonchus

Second home markets were among the most successful real estate markets in 2020, offering rare luxuries such as privacy, space, and gorgeous natural surroundings. Accordingly, LPI has gathered insight from 6 major second home markets for a limited blog series, “Second Home Market Showcase.” A comprehensive summary of these findings can also be found in Luxury Portfolio magazine.

Jennifer Friedberg, Real Estate Agent at Brown Harris Stevens – The Hamptons, provided us a look at The Hampton’s performance during the pandemic, the market’s growing base of permanent residents, and the region’s most popular features.

1. What reasons are buyers drawn to your market?

The Hamptons used to be thought of as a strictly weekend destination where there were lots of celebrity sightings. Now people are finding it to be a great place for extended stays, weekends, summer, and full-time living.

It offers the perfect mix of gorgeous beaches, great art scenes, beautiful homes – both new and historic – with unmatched space and beauty, and abundant restaurants. It’s also a short distance to NYC and the airports. 

2. What are the most popular home features and amenities in your area right now?

People want space – inside and out. They also lean towards finished/renovated homes or properties at a discount if they need work.

Open floor plans are king. Water and South of the Highway (the coveted area because it is closest to the ocean) are always in high demand and location is still critical.

Other amenities include magnificent kitchens with high-end appliances, in-home gyms, large, custom walk-in closets, multiple homes offices, excellent WIFI conditions, wine cellars and outdoor kitchens.

As Buyers become more knowledgeable, they are also looking for more sophisticated technology, lighting, and wireless home automation devices. And, although easy to install, an electric charging station for a Tesla or the like is definitely a nice to have amenity.

3. How is the local market performing compared to this time last year/pre-Covid?

Despite a nearly total shutdown of normal business due to COVID-19, and more than two months of restricted or no in-person showings in early 2020, brisk sales activity picked up once open and we had a very strong market in 2020. The market will stay.

4. Which locations are most buyers coming from?

Global Buyers have dropped off because of the travel restrictions. So too is the drop off for those outside of the tri-state area. Most Buyers for me are from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

5. Is there a rise in the purchase of primary homes, instead of secondary or vacation homes, within the region?

Although we continue to see people purchasing homes as a second or third property, they are treating the Hamptons and their homes as a primary property. That said, I do see younger couples buying in the Hamptons earlier than they did in the past and this home is a first home.

6. How do you think the local market will look post-Covid?

The Hamptons has evolved into a year-round location given the influx of people and we believe the market will stay strong post-COVID.

7. Are there any other notable market trends that you have observed?

Yes, there are more stores open with greater inventory now. Restaurants are open longer and later with a full array of take out options. And, gyms and gym equipment at home have become much more robust given peoples’ concerns about working out in a group environment.

8. Are there any unique observations you’ve observed that may be difficult to quantify?

Local schools are increasing registration and options are expanding as evidenced by Avenues, a for-profit private school that is new to the Hamptons, expanding its offerings and opening a second campus here.

For more on the second home market, view the latest issue of Luxury Portfolio magazine and check back every Thursday through mid-April for extended interviews from experts in Turks & Caicos and Annecy, France.

This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for better readability.