Real Estate Roundtable: Summer on the Waterfront

Hamptons, Real Estate Roundtable
Getty Images

With miles and miles of coastline in the Hamptons and on the North Fork, it’s no wonder that the region is a boater’s paradise. With calm harbors, numerous enclaves for water sports, and spectacular fishing, both near to shore and out to sea, it’s easy to understand why, for some, it’s not a home unless it has a dock. We asked top East End agents what are the most sought-after boating communities these days? And what waterfront features are must-haves for buyers who are not only looking for a home but a place to tie up their boat… or dare we say, yacht?

Hamptons, Real Estate Roundtable
Enzo Morabito

Enzo Morabito, Douglas Elliman

“When it comes to serious boaters, location is hugely important. I always start with the key question: what kind of boating do you like? That allows us to focus in on the right community. Our team sells more waterfront homes than anyone, and we understand the varying needs of each buyer from water depth to dockage. If you have a sailboat, you’ll likely want to be in Sag Harbor, where you have immediate access to deep and open water. If you’re an avid fisherman like me, then you have a multitude of communities to consider like Montauk, Sag Harbor, Hampton Bays, or Westhampton Beach with excellent fishing on the bay and near the inlets. If deep sea fishing is your thing, you’re really looking at Montauk or Hampton Bays where you can run right out. Then you have buyers who just fish from the dock, which opens up most of the bayfront communities. Some desire a dock to just lounge on, to launch a paddle board, or for crabbing. They’ll want to be in calm waters or on a creek. Some like having a bulkhead while others prefer having a stretch of beach. This is where the North Fork is great, especially along its south shore, in places like South Jamesport, where you can find white sand beaches and where the water goes out gradually. Of course, many boaters don’t fish at all and just want to cruise, favoring the communities with deeper water. I love Sag Harbor for going back and forth to restaurants or over to Greenport.”

Hamptons, Real Estate Roundtable
Michael Putnam

Michael Putnam, Nest Seekers International

“If you are lucky enough to live out in the Hamptons, you can drive a mile in any direction and hit the water, and if you are really lucky you can travel by boat. Over the years I’ve seen a large influx of buyers seeking waterfront homes with either close proximity to a marina, or homes with private dockage. The hottest boat havens I’ve noticed have been Sag Harbor and Montauk, mainly because of their numerous waterfront restaurants and larger marinas. There’s such a draw, I think, mainly because it’s so inclusive to every boater both large and small. Both Montauk and Sag Harbor have a plethora of options for dining, bars, live music and beaches. I know for myself I can get on my boat and leave Montauk and within 40 minutes I have a dozen of options for waterfront dining. The market remains strong for those seeking out waterfront homes with private dockage and I believe will continue due to the limited inventory. Those who own those properties hold onto them for a long time knowing how special they are. Happy 4th of July!”

Hamptons, Real Estate Roundtable
Cee Scott Brown

Cee Scott Brown, Compass

“I think W. Scott Cameron Beach in Water Mill is one of the Hamptons’ most charming and beautiful beaches. The sunsets are extraordinary, and the surrounding area’s quality of life is second to none. Currently, I am marketing an impeccable modern home at 5 Burnetts Cove Rd., 20 seconds from Scott Cameron. It was designed by the renowned architectural firm of Stelle Lomont Rouhani with Associated Interiors by Eleanor Donnelly, and offers sunset views over Mecox Bay. The sights from the property are so magical that I often take a moment to appreciate the natural grandeur. The residence includes a dock and a waterside heated gunite pool — almost no one else has one as it is very hard to get a permit to put heating in. Who doesn’t want a temperature-controlled sunset dip after cruising on your boat all day? What’s more, this area has some of the swankiest neighborhoods, studded with stellar homes and a private beach club. Incredible beaches and enchanting homes are what make the Hamptons so desirable.”

Hamptons, Real Estate Roundtable
Susan Breitenbach

Susan Breitenbach, The Corcoran Group

“One of the biggest boating communities on the East End is Sag Harbor. There are waterfront homes with docks and incredible marinas as well. In addition, many properties have docks on Sagg Pond, Georgica Pond and Mecox, but they are typically for smaller boats, kayaks and paddle boarding. As for boat owners looking for homes, the biggest question is what is the boat’s draft, and how deep is the water at low tide, so they know how large a boat they can have. We have two boats we keep in Sag Harbor, one for fishing and another for everything else. It’s so fun to go out and anchor, swim or watch the sunset, and go to lunch or dinner at Sunset Beach, Greenport, or Duryea’s in Montauk or on the North Fork! We also love to take short trips; we were just in Newport, and plan on going to Nantucket and Block Island this summer too. There is also amazing fishing and it is the season right now. Cutter, who works with me, is an excellent fisherman. He just caught a huge striped bass right off Sag Harbor!”

Hamptons, Real Estate Roundtable
Jon Barton

Jon Barton, Sotheby’s International Realty

“When boaters are searching for the ideal neighborhood to live in and get out on the water, my top recommendation is Redwood in Sag Harbor Village. It is inside the Sag Harbor bridge and very protected, while still offering good water depth at the end of the dock. Also, Sag Harbor is a great boating destination, because it’s very easy to get out into Gardiners Bay for fishing, lounging and lunching destinations. Also, if you like to yacht-watch, the megayachts in Sag Harbor display the latest and greatest in yacht design and maybe more importantly, yacht toys. There are also a few marinas nearby to service, launch or haul your yacht. The Clearwater Beach and Lion Head Beach communities in East Hampton offer great deals for boats no larger than 25 to 30 feet. Though somewhat shallow, the harbor is very well protected, and the channel out to Gardiners Bay, and some of the best fishing in the Hamptons, is only 500 feet long. There are also white sand beaches next to the marinas for those who would rather watch than float. The most valuable feature in waterfront real estate is good depth of water at low tide. Most waterfront out here is only 1-3 feet deep at the end of the dock at low tide, so expect to pay a premium for a true deep water dock. Your yacht will thank you!”

Hamptons, Real Estate Roundtable
Jane Babcook

Jane Babcook, Brown Harris Stevens

“Boating has been in my blood since a young child, from sailing and powerboating on the lakes of New England to the bays here on the East End. There is only so much shoreline on Long Island, so finding a waterfront home to meet your budget and requirements narrows down properties currently available. Sag Harbor has a variety of marinas for all types of power boats and yachts, and for those that can’t make it under the bridge, there are outer slips and moorings for sailboats. East Hampton’s Three Mile Harbor has several marinas, and for ocean access, Southampton’s Shinnecock Bay area gives you easy access through the Shinnecock Canal. Finding a waterfront with a dock, bulkhead, power and water is a bonus, and depth during low tide is a key feature, so having an agent who understands navigational access to harbors along the North and South Fork is important.”

This article appeared in the July edition of Behind The Hedges. Read the digital version here. For previous Real Estate Roundtable articles, click here