GET THE INSIDE STORY ON EAST END REAL ESTATE
IF YOU BUILD IT…WILL THEY COME?
With a number of new custom and spec homes entering the Hamptons housing market in the next several years, it's fair to wonder: Do builders know something we don't?
"You can only judge builders' confidence level by their actions," says Joel Spiegel, senior director and associate broker of Brown Harris Stevens in Bridgehampton. "Even though the market has slowed along with the rest of the country due to the general conditions, there continues to be significant activity, as evidenced by the land sales to developers and the many new projects going up in all areas. They understand the underlying resilience of this market based on the continued demand for Hamptons properties and the relatively small supply."
Jennifer Linick of Devlin McNiff in East Hampton says that a few big transactions can make a big splash in our small community. Perhaps as a result, consumer confidence is on the rise. "We seem to have more of it—more certainly than after the fall of Lehman and the ensuing 18 months when there was no confidence and no market," she says. "However, smart people are buying and understand the great investment that real estate is."
Engel & Volkers managing director Jonathan Lerner says builders are including a number of high-end features to sweeten the deal on spec homes, including motorized sliding-glass doors that open and close with the touch of a button (another tap turns the glass from clear to frost for privacy). Stone bathtubs carved from mammoth hunks of granite or marble add a rustic sense of history to elaborate bathrooms, while warming drawers keep fresh towels toasty nearby.
Custom wine caves are also on the rise. "In the past, a host might take a few friends into the wine cellar to view their collection and choose a selection for their meal," Lerner says. "Today, the trend is building separate rooms, one with controlled temperature and humidity levels for optimum preservation of the wine, and a second room that is designed for entertaining with a separately controlled environment. The wine storage area can be visible using decorative glass panels and glass-paneled doors."