Getting the Home You Want in the Hamptons

Back before the housing crash, many would-be homeowners or second homeowners were often discouraged at what they could find with a budget of $500,000. Many homes were labeled as total teardowns or an immediate renovation project, making a feasible mortgage nearly impossible. But now, many Hampton real estate agents are optimistic as to what a budget as low as $380,000 can buy.

Not so long ago, half a million dollars wouldn’t buy half an acre in much of the Hamptons. But now that the market has recalibrated and prices have begun to stabilize, a growing number of modest but more affordable properties are popping up for $500,000 or less, creating opportunities for buyers who were previously priced out.

“We currently have a handful of great homes for around $600,000 or so,” says Tom Friedman, a real estate agent with Nest Seekers. “In fact, there are several homes on the market currently for as little as $389,000.”

There were 793 homes listed for $600,000 or less in the opening quarter of 2013. Compared to 720 homes listed for $500,000 or less in the second quarter of 2012, according to StreetEasy.com.

Traditionally, more affordable homes have been available in neighborhoods further removed from small, cozy villages and beaches, or areas lying west of the Shinnecock Canal.

Now, attractive properties are available in coveted locales east of the canal, which cuts across the South Fork at Hampton Bays, demarcating the more exclusive hamlets and villages running from  Southampton to the tip of Montauk.

Take a charming circa 1910 cottage with three bedrooms and an enclosed porch cozily nestled on a dead-end street in scenic East Hampton Village. Located within close proximity to the center of town and beaches, it’s listed by Corcoran for $495,000, down from $525,000 in September. Or check out a renovated three-bedroom, one-bath ranch on a quarter acre on a quiet Southampton Village street with access to both Southampton and Sag Harbor, listed by Nest Seekers at $495,000 new to the market.

Outside the villages, the deals get even better—larger properties with more amenities for less money. A winsome 1950s ranch that evokes mid-century charm with all its original wood floors and decorative ceilings offers future home buyers much room for expansion. Though only 1,000 sq. ft., the home is ideally sprawled over three-quarters of an  acre, with a yard that is ideal for a pool, patio or deck. This three-bedroom, two-bathroom house won’t spend long looking for its next 21st century owner at a priced-to-sell tag of only $550,000.

Or, perhaps for secondary homebuyers, a three-bedroom, two-bath Sag Harbor home with an enclosed porch and vistas of the bay, for under $495,000, will suit.

Of course, you’re not going to find anything on exclusive Georgica Pond, where the cheapest listing with Sotheby’s is currently a 1,100-square-foot cottage for $3.495 million, or south of the highway in Sagaponack, where the least expensive listing is $619,000 for a modest ranch on .63 acres.

However, second-home buyers who are willing to invest a little sweat equity can find solid properties with room to expand or improve on for a very affordable price.

For Friedman, this particular housing market is dependent upon whether or not potential buyers can get a mortgage. Luckily, it seems that banks are now more willing to extend loans to families for mortgages.

Although Friedman remains largely optimistic, the agent notes that there are many lookers, but not as many have had the gumption to ink a deal.

“There are a lot of interested home buyers, but many have not pulled the trigger, so to speak,” said Friedman. “Perhaps, they’re waiting on better deals.”

Such bargains have helped jump-start the Hamptons market this year already. While some prices have skewed lower, many of these deals may be at their ripest point for the picking. The properties above are sure to sell quickly.

For all the details on Tom Friedman’s listings visit nestseekers.com or call him at 631-697-1103.

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