Real Estate Renaissance: Saunders & Associates

Andrew Saunders
President, Saunders & Associates

The pace of sales of residen-tial properties in the Hamptons has been brisk. The latest move that began in mid-January has been characterized by significant activity in both the upper end and popular priced areas of the market. The current activity is noteworthy in that the professional investor is again transacting. Builders, developers, and investors have purchased prime, south-of-the-highway parcels in Bridgehampton, Sagaponack, and Wainscott. The activity has been so prolific that the inventory of such property is quite thin and we are starting to see signs of inflation in the asking prices for these premium sites.

While sales in the upper end tend to make headlines, the critical mass of activity in the Hamptons occurs in the $2 million and under market. Week after week, the largest number of deals occurs in this area and suggests that the popular priced end of the market is fluid. The movement in the luxury and popular priced regions of the Hamptons real estate market during the first quarter is in stark contrast to the markets of 2008 and 2009 when the financial meltdown paralyzed the Hamptons market. Business started to loosen up in 2010 and 2011 but was negatively impacted in both of those years by external events. In 2010, real estate sales were respectable until the flash crash in early May. This event scared prospective purchasers and resulted in a lackluster summer of sales. 2011 was characterized by robust sales through the end of July, but activity was marginalized in early August by the downgrade in the credit rating of the United States and sales for the balance of the selling season were unremarkable. While today’s activity is noteworthy for its strength and conviction, we are reminded that extraneous events can impact sales of Hamptons real estate and always advise our customers to buy quality, at all price points.

I anticipate continued strength in our market in 2012 provided we maintain a reasonable level of clarity regarding the issues impacting our economy and country. Lack of visibility for the future unnerves buyers and undermines our business. I believe in the future of Hamptons real estate.

From the April 2012 issue of Quest Magazine.