Put On The Brakes - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1946153

Put On The Brakes

Regarding the concern expressed by Barbara Weber-Floyd about the massive amount of new home construction being considered in the Westhampton area [“The Big Picture,” Letters, April 21], I believe there are additional reasons for all of us to be concerned about them.

As an active real estate broker for over 50 years on the East End and in Colorado, I’ve watched developers make decisions to jump into a hot market, only to watch their “jump” become a tedious crawl. Not because Southampton makes getting approvals slow and difficult. All over the country, local governments do the same thing. It simply takes time — it takes years — to approve making huge changes to our landscape. And it should.

Now, time has passed. The market is changing, interest rates keep rising, construction costs keep rising, and by the time these homes are ready to go, the folks these homes were designed for can’t afford them anymore. Sellers can’t/won’t reduce prices; buyers can’t get loans or manage the cash sale. Some buyers learn how to buy a home they can’t afford (private second mortgages or other means) and end up several years later in foreclosure. Other units become rentals or vandalized vacant properties. We’ve all seen this before.

For developers, feeling obligated to go on with a development that faces such an uncertain future, “because we’ve invested so much already,” is a poor way to make a business decision. It’s a dreadful way for local officials to run our government.

There are too many new projects proposed for one small area at a questionable time in the market. I hope someone has the sense to put on the brakes. And to do it in a sensible way.

In truth, the only housing our community needs is a community like The Preserve. It’s the kind of housing our firemen, our teachers, our health care workers, our own kids and grandkids need and can afford. It should not have to compete with yet more luxury housing for our limited resources.

Syma Joffe Gerard