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Real Estate Center

Jun 5, 2008 10:21 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Lunch With ... Michael Daly

Jun 5, 2008 10:21 AM

For the last decade, Michael Daly has been one of the top real estate brokers on the East End.

In 1998, he started True North Realty Associates to offer what he calls straightforward, no-nonsense service. Now, Mr. Daly does business as Beach Properties of the Hamptons, having opened the first of three offices in Southampton in 2006. Though focused on Hamptons real estate, the North Haven resident has contacts with other Realtors in Manhattan, across the tri-state area, and in coastal Florida, the Caribbean, Costa Rica and 65 countries around the globe.

He also operates the Hamptons Real Estate Blog, which is dedicated to the Hamptons real estate market.

Mr. Daly recently talked about the real estate market, his blog, and a few other things, over lunch at Silver’s restaurant on Main Street in Southampton Village.

Q:

How did you come to know the Hamptons? Did you grow up here?

A:

I’m from the city, but I’ve been a summer kid out here since 1960. My family had a summer cottage in Westhampton where all the kids and moms would come out. I’d leave school as soon as it let out and stay the entire summer. I was one of the luckiest kids in my school.

Q:

Since coming out here as a kid, have you noticed over the years that the Hamptons have become more of a year-round community and not just a seasonal community?

A:

Oh, absolutely. I still remember “Tumbleweed Tuesday,” which is what we used to call the Tuesday after Labor Day, because it was said you could see the tumbleweeds blowing down the main streets in the Hamptons because everyone was gone. So much is changing. I think one factor is that with telecommunications as they are today, people have more flexibility with work, which allows more people to stay out here year round.

Q:

So, tell me a little about your real estate blog.

A:

Well, I started it in November 2006, and I’ve had more than 62,000 hits. For me, it just became a way of communicating. I looked and saw a lot of blogs coming up, and I didn’t see anything about Hamptons real estate. I’ve had visitors from all over the world. But mostly it’s a way to express myself and to pass on to colleagues and clients what I think is important about Hamptons real estate. And also to be a resource for where to stay or where to go and eat.

Q:

Do you enjoy it?

A:

I have fun sometimes, but other times it’s a labor of love. Often, it depends on my time. I’ve tried very hard not to make it a gossip blog, because I think we already have enough of those. And I think gossip can be destructive. So I’ve tried to keep it informative and about real estate.

Q:

Well, speaking of, there’s been a lot of talk about the slowing down of the housing market. What, if anything, have you noticed?

A:

Well, I definitely see a change in the market just from the stats alone. The market was down some 40 percent for single-family homes in the first quarter, and a recent report for single-family homes after April indicate they are down 30 percent. That’s for the townships of East Hampton and Southampton, which in my view comprise the Hamptons. But this is definitely the biggest downturn that I’ve seen.

Q:

Is there any particular dropoff 
point where you’ve noticed homes going down the most, or staying the same?

A:

I don’t have the exact numbers, except the 30-percent drop in the number of sales. But I think the biggest hit has been on sales between $3 million and $5 million. However, the average sale price is up over $2 million. But that’s due, in part, because we’re still having quite a number of big sales—$10 million, $15 million, $20 million, $25 million sales—and a lesser number of $5 million-and-under sales. So when those smaller sales drop, these bigger ones bring up the average.

Q:

When you get up into those high figures—$20 million, $25 million sales—are those people pretty much immune to what’s going on in the market?

A:

I think so. I think that echelon is immune to everything—gas prices, food prices, as well as real estate prices.

Q:

Do you see the market picking up again anytime soon?

A:

Well, I’m bullish on the real estate market. I think there are some really terrific values out there right now. I think it’s coming to the point where people are not going to be able to resist getting back in because of the quality of the deals that are available.

Q:

So there’s an upside to the slowing market?

A:

Yes. Traditionally, values in the Hamptons don’t drop. They’ll stay flat for a period of time.

Q:

Speaking of affordability, I wanted to ask you about affordable housing. As you know, this is a huge issue in town, how to keep much needed middle-income workers in town when the cost of real estate out here is so high. As a Realtor, how do you see affordable housing playing into the real estate market?

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