The Hamptons have always been a safe haven, and now in a world where space and fresh air are highly valued, the area’s appeal is skyrocketing.
It’s not just a reactionary event; according to data from a Harris Poll survey, migration to suburban and rural areas will be the state of affairs for the medium term.
That’s been good news for Andrew Saunders. Saunders, the CEO of Saunders & Associates—popularly known as the most efficient brokerage in the Hamptons—has a full schedule right now. After an initial shock in March, activity has been up. “Our offices were closed for 86 days,” Saunders told Quest, “and those 86 days were some of our busiest.” He said that once people saw the dust settle, they started leaving New York City and coming to the Hamptons.
As a result, the rental market got frenetic. “There was a big imbalance in supply and demand,” said Saunders.” During a phone conversation, he mentioned that would-be tenants were coming out and finding there was no rental inventory. But they wanted to be there, hoping to make a lifestyle change. “So,” Saunders explained, “they started buying homes.”
Some even bought sight-unseen, highlighting the significance of a digital presence in the real estate world. “Our narrative has been: You have to have infrastructure and the most elegant offices in the country. But that is changing. We don’t have to grow with offices, we have to grow with technology.”
Saunders, who says he has meetings on Zoom three to five times a day, is excited about the advances in technology and how it has allowed his business to thrive during a global pandemic. “There are very smart people out there who are working on new ways to interact.”
The Hamptons, which has always been a very social community, is starting to see activity come back, and people have been very smart and cautious. Spas and hair salons are open. Restaurants can operate indoors at 50 percent capacity. (The famous 1770 House, for instance, is hosting outdoor diners and offering takeout.) Shops and boutique stores are operating as well. “It’s a much better than it was four weeks ago,” Saunders informed. “We are seeing people out, and they are observing social distancing protocols.”
Coronavirus cases in other states like California, Florida, and Texas have been spiking lately, causing even more desire to come to the Hamptons, where the population has been vigilant about wearing masks and distancing. “We’re seeing normalcy that has been constructive to the Hamptons.”
Luckily, normalcy in the Hamptons has always involved a lot of outdoor activities like biking, dining, golf, horseback riding, and going to the top-rated beaches—all of which attracts a tremendous diversity of interesting people from all walks of life.
Saunders says that families have been enjoying all these outdoor activities together, spending more quality time with one another. “Families are exercising together, playing sports together,” he observes, noting that bonding is even more important when we’re all faced with a hard situation.
Things are looking up, however. Fortunately, the coronavirus numbers are stable in the Hamptons and, Saunders adds, “It’s just a beautiful place to be.”
Photos courtesy of Tate’s; Sant Ambroeus; Libby Vander; James Katsipis; thehollyday.com; Andrew Saunders; Gordon M. Grant