East End real estate has been on fire during the pandemic with some hamlets hotter than others, but the buying frenzy has certainly caught up to Orient, the furthest point out on the North Fork, in recent months.
“We have seen an increase in selling prices across the board on the North Fork, and Orient is a historic hamlet that is very special and is definitely one of the hamlets on the North Fork leading the pack in desirability and price appreciation,” says Lori Feilen of Town & Country Real Estate.
Surrounded by water on three sides, Orient has “more of a Martha’s Vineyard/New England feel,” which is attractive to buyers, Feilen says. “As the last, most furthest east hamlet of the North Fork, it has retained almost a 1950s feel still deeply connected to its waterfront and agricultural past.” She adds that it is currently following a price trajectory most similar to Amagansett.
“Home prices have risen from the early 1990s when Orient village homes were selling for $100,000 and have doubled 4.5 times over the last 11 years,” she says. Non-waterfront homes have sold recently for upwards of $2.5 million and waterfront has sold for up to $10 million.
Susan Orioli and Alexis Veryzer of NOFO Real Estate agree and point to Multiple Listing Service data for 2021 that shows the North Fork, thus far, has an approximate median sales price of $1,725,000.
The charm and rural character lure people to Orient, they believe, even if it does take them longer to get there. “We have many buyers seeking waterfront in Orient, but with the limited inventory, these buyers have turned to interior properties with spacious land and beach access. Many buyers desire being as far east as possible — to them this is the ultimate getaway from it all.”
Town & Country’s third-quarter market report showed that Orient, which includes East Marion and Greenport for its analysis, is struggling with inventory, perhaps more than any other area on the North Fork. The number of home sales was down by 75% and total sales volume dropped at nearly the same rate landing at a 73.08% drop with only six sales in the third-quarter.
“Yet in this market, median home sale price shot up 22.72% year-to-year same quarter,” the report says.
“The cohesiveness of a small hometown feeling in the village is a big draw,” Orioli and Veryzer continue. “Homeowners have candles in their windows at night and children attend functions at the Orient Yacht Club, being able to ride bicycles at all hours of the day or night with complete safety. The architecture of these historic homes is superb with many unique characteristics and many have a legacy or were owned by a famous artist or sculptor.”
The charming historic district boasts about 175 period homes dating back to the 1670s and early 1900s. The country store dates back to the 1770s and the downtown area offers a post office, a patisserie, ice cream and even a dumpling shop. The expansive Oysterponds Historical Society compound is open to the public.
Earlier this year, one of the most iconic homes in Orient, located at 825 Stephensons Road, traded for $4.17 million with Feilen representing the property. It first went on the market in June of 2020 for $4.775 million and was taken off the market in September of that year. It was listed again in April of 2021 for the same price and quickly found a buyer, who closed on May 26.
Its location along the Orient Causeway makes it one of the most recognizable homes in the area as it can easily be seen upon entering the historic hamlet.
“This home, in particular, dates back to 1868 and was part of a large family compound located just over the causeway in a private estate enclave known as ‘The Hill’ set on five acres with 475 feet of private beachfront on the Long Island Sound,” she explains. It also offers 180-degree views from every room and multi-level decks.
“The home itself had undergone a beautiful and intensive restoration introducing modern luxuries and design to the interior spaces,” she says. “It was a fantastic opportunity for a new family to obtain a very special piece of Orient’s historic housing stock in a rarely available estate setting and location.”
New construction and homes that have undergone major renovations are also in demand. Orioli and Veryzer recently sold 1000 Soundview Road, just one block from the Sound, at full-ask for $1.449 million on September 20. It sold in 2018 for $658,500.
The custom-finished 1,850-square-foot home included a brand new kitchen with an elongated quartz waterfall island, Ann Sachs tile, a Wolf six-burner stove, and Sub-Zero and Miele appliances. The master ensuite bedroom featured a walk-in closet on one side of the house and the two additional ensuite bedrooms are on the other side, providing ideal separation of living space for family or guests.
A modern home built in 2020 at 1055 North View Drive with water views from the living room, bedrooms and rooftop deck was said to be, “Channeling the California coast in one of Orient’s most sought-after and private neighborhoods,” according to the Compass listing. Records show it went on the market in October 2020 for $2.495 million, underwent a price reduction to $2.195 million in April 2021, and then sold for over-ask at $2.25 million in June.