By Georgia Suter
Despite declining home sale values throughout most of the country, the East End’s small village of Sagaponack has weathered the recession remarkably well. Last week’s Business Week magazine identified the historic, ocean-side area as being the most expensive in the country, with median home sale prices in 2009 hitting $4,421,458, compared to $174,000 throughout the rest of the nation.
Evan Kulman, Senior Vice President of Corcoran Real Estate Group, commented on the area’s enduring real estate and land value, noting that his company is recently seeing a lot of activity in the sleepy village — numerous homes are expected to hit the market in the next few months. Currently, Corcoran Real Estate Group has a pre-construction property on Gibson Lane in Sagaponack that speaks to the area’s pricey nature. At 7,500 square feet with ocean views, the property hasn’t yet broken ground, but it’s currently listed at $8,450,000. Kulman anticipates that as soon as construction begins on the project, demand for the parcel may increase and the value may likely rise.
Business Week is quick to narrow in on profiling the type of residents that are drawn to the small village– chairman of the Renco Group Ira Rennert being one wealthy buyer that built a mansion in Sagaponack, on 63 acres, in 2004. That year, the New York Times estimated the worth of his 29-bedroom home, called “Fair Field,” to be more than $170 million. Many of the area’s home buyers hail from Manhattan, and the recent Wall Street bonus season has been seen to have trickled favorably down to the East End, bringing new clients and instigating a bit of a buying surge. Kulman notes that the majority of their market comes from the New York City buyers, and that most of their clients are Manhattan residents.
When asked about the steady attraction that Sagaponack holds, compared to other surrounding areas of the East End , Kulman comments on the small size of the village, which, in turn, means fewer homes that are more exclusive. “Many homes don’t trade often,” he states of the property in the area, and the property is continually sought after “because of the beauty of Sagaponack and because of it being understated.” The small village, up until the 1970s, abounded with potato fields and has been described as having had a laid-back community of farmers and writers such as Kurt Vonnegut.
Beate Moore, the Senior Vice President of Sotheby’s Realty, shares similar observations on Sagaponack’s strong real estate market, stating that she’s recently seen closings that reflect the village’s pricey rank. Moore noted that Sotheby’s recently closed a property on Gibson Lane for $19 million. Another listing closed on Hedges Lane in Sagaponack for $14 million in the past couple months.
“There’s been a huge pick up in activity,” she stated. Of the area’s rebound, Moore added “There were eight sales in December, and December is usually one of our slowest months, so it was a nice surprise.” Additionally, Sotheby’s recently sold a piece of land shy of one acre, with nothing built on it, for $3 million. “Sagaponack is highly thought upon,” Moore said.
Business Week’s real estate summary points out that the small village of Sagaponack isn’t the only thriving housing market on the East End. Long Island’s Nassau and Suffolk County accounted for more than half of the fifty most expensive small towns in America, with Water Mill coming in at number six– its median home sale price being $2,238,676, and Bridgehampton coming in at number eight with its median at $2,081,717. Also representing the East End in Business Week’s survey of the 50 Most Expensive Towns of the United States were Wainscott, which ranked at 13th place, Quogue at 30th place, East Hampton North at 42nd place and North Haven at 48th place.