Jane Holden: The Upcoming Generation Can't Afford To Stay in Sag Harbor - 27 East

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Jane Holden: The Upcoming Generation Can’t Afford To Stay in Sag Harbor

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Jane Holden. DANA SHAW

Jane Holden. DANA SHAW

Brendan J. O’Reilly on Feb 21, 2024

Jane Holden, an associate broker with Brown Harris Stevens of the Hamptons, grew up in Sag Harbor and has been selling real estate in the area for going on 43 years.

Speaking from the audience at the Express Sessions conversation on the Hamptons real estate market at Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor Village last Thursday, February 15, she recalled selling homes when mortgage rates were 18 percent — 10 points higher than today’s rates.

“I sold three houses that summer because we’re always going to have somebody who’s dying, getting divorced, moving away — and there will always be a buyer there,” Holden said.

She noted that in the next couple of weeks, she will list a house in the village for someone she grew up with.

“During our conversation, I said so her, ‘You know, when you leave, you cannot come back. And just make sure you’re making this decision and that’s what you want to do.’ And she looked at me — and she’s already found something her and her husband like — and she said, ‘My daughter doesn’t want to stay. My son can’t afford to live here. They’re all leaving,’” Holden recalled.

Holden said she is blessed that her children remain local. “But I don’t know if my grandchildren can stay here,” she added.

“I listed a house in November in Redwood, on a quarter of an acre, 824 square feet, two bedrooms, two bathrooms,” she said. “I put the paperwork in on Friday. On Tuesday, I had six sealed bids. I had listed it at $1,450,000. It closed at $1,650,000. There is not a local child that can afford that.

“I have a parent who is willing to put $500,000 cash to help her son stay here. We cannot find something that we can do that and he’d still be able to afford a mortgage,” Holden continued. “They have to start letting people have apartments over their garages or a section of their house.”

She said she had been among a group of people who sold many houses on Main Street in Sag Harbor that had three to five gorgeous apartments in them. She said part of her was happy to see the buildings become one-family homes, but she also knows that each time one was sold, several apartments were lost.

“Just on Sag Harbor Main Street, we lost probably 30 apartments — one- and two-bedroom, beautiful apartments that allowed people to live here,” she said.

She also tried to help a young man who is part of a 17th generation Sag Harbor family find a house in the area.

“I tried and tried to find him a house. He has a very good job in East Hampton. Well, he had to buy in Hampton Bays,” Holden said, noting that he has now joined the daily “trade parade.”

Even Hampton Bays, previously considered an affordable alternative to Sag Harbor or East Hampton, has become unattainable for young local employees.

“With the prices in Hampton Bays, now they can’t afford them, because what was selling two and three years ago for $600,000 and $700,000 are $900,000 or over a million,” Holden said.

She also recalled long ago selling a home for $149,000 with a 4 percent commission and said every time she sees that client, the woman stops her, hugs her and says, “I was allowed to raise my children, and I’m still in that house.”

“We have to start thinking that way,” Holden said. “We’re not going to have any of our kids or another generation here.”

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