Real estate agents are taking note of the stir of activity west of the Shinnecock Canal. Many East End brokerages are hearing from buyers that they’re opting for easy access to both the Twin Forks and New York City—without the hustle and bustle of the Hamptons’ traffic.
“The commute from Westhampton, Quogue, even Hampton Bays, is so much better than going all the way out east,” said Ashley Farrell, a Corcoran real estate agent. “A family—if there is a husband or a wife who is working in the city and they want to be out to dinner here on a Friday—you have to choose west of the canal. You are not making Friday dinner if you are going to Amagansett.”
Corcoran’s second quarter report found that sales were up in all west of the canal geographic clusters, with the Remsenburg-Westhampton area performing the best with an 11 percent increase in the number of sales compared to the same quarter in 2017. Douglas Elliman and Brown Harris Stevens reported similar figures to Corcoran, while Town & Country and Compass reported a decline in the greater Westhampton market.
But selling activity in recent months has made Joseph De Sane, a senior managing director of sales at Compass, rethink how the west of the canal is doing.
“In reviewing the numbers from the second quarter for Westhampton and the surrounding submarkets, they are not indicative of the current state of the market,” Mr. De Sane said. “Noteworthy is the increase in average sales price by 13 percent. Reports do not always reflect real-time analysis and are often nearly a quarter behind by the time new transactions are reported.”
Douglas Elliman power broker Enzo Morabito has been flying banners reading “Hampton Bays is the new Brooklyn” and “Quogue, the closer Sagaponack” for years—though his messages are mostly directed toward clientele on the higher end.
“Take a gander at the area,” Mr. Morabito said. He noted that although prices are steadily rising, houses are still considerably cheaper west of the canal than they are in points east.
“What’s wrong with this side of the canal—nothing,” he continued. His data for the last few months includes an increase in the number of sales in the $1 million to $2.5 million range in the region. Others also reported there has been a recent flurry of sales—most in the $500,000 to $1.25 million range—in Westhampton, Westhampton Beach, Quogue, Quiogue and Remsenburg.
“I actually have high-net-worth clients and ultra-high-net-worth clients that are selling their estates out east and moving here instead,” Ms. Farrell said.
Brokerages aren’t ready to declare the results of the third quarter yet, but Ms. Farrell said if her experience this summer is any indicator, numbers are going up.
“There is tons of value in this area,” Ms. Farrell said. “If you compare this area to Southampton, Amagansett, Sag Harbor, East Hampton, the prices are so much better here. You get so much more for your money.”
Ms. Farrell said homes are selling like hot cakes, because more families want to be able to use their second residence for more time during the year than just the summer.
“A lot of time it’s a younger clientele who rents in the city and is actually a first-time homebuyer,” Ms. Farrell said. “They are an established young professional, and they are dipping their assets out here to buy their first second home.”
She was the buyer's agent of 14 Michaels Way in Westhampton Beach, which closed in mid-August for nearly $3.2 million at full asking price after being listed for less than one week. The Westhampton Beach native sold 71 Bayfield Lane for $2.1 million in September—well more than the average selling price for the region, $1.3 million.
“I’ve really seen more of an uptick in buyers and builders looking for land,” said Compass real estate agent Dana Bartel. “Even parcels that might not have been deemed as ‘desirable’ in the past have had bidding wars lately.”
Ms. Bartel said new construction is a strong indicator that the market is doing well west of the canal. With any luck, Ms. Bartel said new inventory means more sales.
She also recalled five construction projects and four flips in East Quogue, and seven more builds in the Westhampton and Westhampton Beach region, over the last two years. Condos have been built in Ponquogue Point in Hampton Bays, represented by Compass, and construction on Rechler Equity’s Hampton Boathouses on the Shinnecock Canal also started over the summer.
Ms. Bartel said one of the most notable building projects in the area is the 17 new houses at the Estates at Remsenburg, listed by First Hampton International, where she got her start. She added that the development has brought hype to the region.
“I believe the majority of the lots are being built out for buyers by developers who bought and subdivided the original 20-plus acre parcel,” Ms. Bartel said. “This project has been in the works for at least five years.”
All told, Ms. Bartel reports her individual sales west of the canal in the past year have ranged as low as $450,000 up to nearly $1.67 million with seven closings in the area.
Because of the activity increase west of the canal, Compass is opening a Westhampton Beach office at 145 Main Street, complete with polished concrete floors and glass-enclosed conference areas. Mr. De Sane said there will be room for 16 agents, as well as some “floating stations.”
“We continue to increase our market share and footprint in the area and trust we will continue to do so in the time to come,” Mr. De Sane said.
One fine body…