By Kathryn G. Menu
According to a handful of East End brokers, any impact Hurricane Sandy has had on the rental market in the Hamptons is minimal, for better or for worse; but one thing is certain – a strong rental season has emerged, inventory flying off the shelves as visitors secure their summer homes for 2013.
While many in the industry have speculated the lack of waterfront homes in coastal New Jersey could bring more renters to the South Fork, that has yet to become a reality, said Ed Reale, the senior managing director for Brown Harris Stevens responsible for managing the Sag Harbor, Southampton and Westhampton offices.
“At least not in our offices,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.
However, said Reale, the rental market appears strong this season, with an increase in the number of renewals – second or third year rentals of the same home by the same family.
Reale said inventory is moving quickly, with a lot of rentals already leased for the summer. However, he added, with 8,000 rentals still available from Montauk to Remsenburg, it is still more than possible to find that perfect summer rental.
Michael Daly, a broker with Sotheby’s International Realty’s Sag Harbor office says there are a number of factors impacting the 2013 rental market, and added that Hurricane Sandy has only had a minimal effect in his view.
“What I am finding is there are a couple of factors at play,” he said on Tuesday. “We had a very busy end of summer through the end of year market. There are a number of houses we would normally have in the rental pool that have been sold.”
“At Sotheby’s we have been talking to each other, trying to find south of the highway rentals, and already we are seeing a shortage because many of them have already been secured for the season,” he added.
Daly said the high end and lower priced waterfront rentals are the first being snatched up for this summer season, which he did attribute, in part, to Hurricane Sandy and an influx of renters into this market.
“I spoke to a colleague in Westhampton and they have a shortage of waterfront properties as well, with multiple offers on rentals,” said Daly. “Westhampton has a lower price point and may be more attractive to people who have rented on the Jersey Shore, which is beautiful, but does traditionally come in at a lower price point than the South Fork.”
Daly added that another impact of Hurricane Sandy on the rental market is that there are a few homes in low-lying areas, traditionally rentals, that are undergoing repairs and have yet to join the rental pool.
“Some of the lower-lying waterfront homes on the ocean and bay were damaged by Hurricane Sandy and some of them, not a great number, but still a contributing factor, are being repaired,” he said. “They may come back on the market before the season, so it is hard to tell how big of an impact it will have.”
“Sandy kept rental lookers away and Nemo kept people away this past weekend but many rentals have already been secured and there is every indication this will be a strong rental season,” said Gioia DiPaolo, a senior vice president at Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “We haven’t seen any activity from New Jersey Shore people. The weekly rental seems to be a very active segment of the New Jersey Shore market and that is not the case here.”
And high-end rentals are certainly not suffering this season, it appears.
According to Daly, a North Haven homeowner was recently given $1 million for a July and August rental. Another large custom home in North Haven turned down the same figure, wanting to rent for a shorter season this year.