Real Estate Spotlight: Westhampton Beach

The iconic Dune Road in Westhampton Beach, Photo: Barbara Lassen
The iconic Dune Road in Westhampton Beach, Photo: Barbara Lassen

In terms of both rentals and purchases, Westhampton Beach real estate is increasingly becoming a not-so-well-kept secret in terms of value and investment potential. Our WHB insiders share their insights into this booming market.

What surprised you most about the Westhampton Beach real estate market over the summer months?

Typically, the heart of the summer, July and August, are quieter times in the Hamptons real estate market. Renters and owners alike are enjoying their time off; school is out; vacation days are used; and people don’t want to be bothered with anything but relaxing on the beach. Home buying doesn’t become a priority for most until post-Labor Day. This summer, however, many buyers made lifestyle changes and decided to buy vacation homes or relocate permanently to the Hamptons. For those looking to live on the East End for the long term, or even for the remainder of 2020, the clock was ticking. This caused the market to be saturated with buyer demand and at the same time kept inventory low. It was a level of activity not seen in the area for quite some time. –Ashley Farrell, The Corcoran Group

Unlike most other summers, we were extremely busy throughout the summer, both with sales and rentals. In the past, there was virtually no market for “winter rentals” (September to May). This year, those prices skyrocketed to the point where it was difficult to set an asking price when a homeowner was putting their home on the market for a winter rental as there was never really a previous benchmark for it. A big reason for that was the uncertainty of city schools starting in the fall. Parents were preparing for backup plans to stay out here through the fall, winter and even into the spring. –Gene Gilyutin, Hampton Estates Realty

The momentum and interest continued to climb without any stall, whereas some other Hamptons markets saw a bit of a sit back on activity. —Judi Desiderio, Town & Country Real Estate

I used to be able to walk down Main Street and know practically every person I met. This summer, there has been an influx of new people that we’ve never seen before. I love how inclusive and eclectic Westhampton Beach has become–a great mix! –Enzo Morabito, Douglas Elliman

How is the Westhampton Beach real estate market unique from the other Hamptons villages?

Westhampton Beach is the best kept secret of the Hamptons. It’s smaller than most of the hamlets, making it less crowded, yet it offers so many similar and enticing amenities. “Westhamponites” enjoy the same beautiful sandy beaches and ocean as all the other Hampton villages. In addition, we have just undergone a multi-million-dollar Main Street revitalization, which has led to new stores, new restaurants and a resurgence of activity. Perhaps the most appealing difference in comparison to villages further east, is that Westhampton Beach offers much more bang for the buck, in terms of both home buying and renting. The dollar certainly stretches further here. –Ashley Farrell, The Corcoran Group

For one thing, it’s that much closer to the city so if somebody needs to go into the city a few times per week, the commute is reduced as opposed to being further east. With the revitalization of Main Street and real estate prices typically being lower than on the other side of the canal, buyers are recognizing tremendous value. –Gene Gilyutin, Hampton Estates Realty

WHB has a vibrant Main Street, ocean beaches and boat-filled bays all within a small surface area and all within a commutable distance to NYC. —Judi Desiderio, Town & Country Real Estate

It’s the best value and the easiest commute. Until the past few years, pricing in Westhampton Beach was about 50 cents on the dollar in relation to points farther east. Now I’d say we’re closing in on 75 cents on the dollar. –Enzo Morabito, Douglas Elliman

How does the current Westhampton Beach real estate market compare to where it was this time last year?

All market activity has increased exponentially from 2019 to 2020. In a traditional September, rental deals are usually complete for the year and agents are focused on the sale market. This year, rentals are still very much in play, with fall and winter rentals becoming increasingly popular. The sale market too is much more active–with multiple offers and bids over asking price becoming the norm. –Ashley Farrell, The Corcoran Group

There’s almost no comparison. A year ago, there was plenty of inventory across all price points. In the late spring and into this summer, the market completely flipped–seemingly overnight. Inventory started drying up, and it quickly turned into a sellers’ market, which is where it continues to be today. We’re still seeing homes that come on the market going into contract seemingly within days. –Gene Gilyutin, Hampton Estates Realty

Leaps and bounds ahead of last year! The momentum is still strong, and buyer interest remains heightened. —Judi Desiderio, Town & Country Real Estate

We’ve certainly seen a lot more activity coming from the city and even up-island, but we’ve also seen a tremendous migration from savvy luxury buyers migrating from out east. –Enzo Morabito, Douglas Elliman

How well do you predict the Westhampton Beach real estate market will perform this fall?

As much as I wish I did, I don’t have the coveted crystal ball on this one. Certainly there are many factors which could influence the market, from a COVID vaccine or lack thereof, to the results of the election, to new state and federal laws, but for the time being, I am not seeing signs of a slowdown in the immediate future. –Ashley Farrell, The Corcoran Group

The biggest external factor now is the upcoming presidential election. While there always seems to be some buyer hesitation leading up to a presidential election, this year feels a little different. That being said, I’m not sure how much, if anything, that will affect real estate in Westhampton Beach. I had so many of my past buyers reach out to me letting me know how grateful they were to own a home out here–and be able to “escape” from the city. This past spring and summer was a great case study into how people can work remotely from home, and I think that trend will continue as companies allow more and more of their employees to work remotely. –Gene Gilyutin, Hampton Estates Realty

A lot of houses are selling. People are moving out of the city and buying homes. I had people who were in the store [Shock Ice Cream] this weekend, and their kids are Zooming so they don’t have to be in the city to go to school. They’re extending their leases throughout the fall, so it’s going to be very interesting out here. And I think it’s going to be really good for business. It’s going to be an interesting year! –Elyse Richman, Nest Seekers International

Judging from all the activity–phone calls and appointments–that we’ve been getting, I’d say it’s gangbusters. –Enzo Morabito, Douglas Elliman

What would you say is the most appealing aspect of the Westhampton Beach real estate market?

The most appealing aspect of Westhampton Beach is its location and accessibility. The closest of the Hamptons to the city, it is undoubtedly the most convenient. The LIRR offers the option of a bullet train during the summer directly from Penn Station to Westhampton, with no stops. Gabreski Airport has the ability to accommodate oversized jet planes, unlike the smaller airports further east. If arriving by car, visitors travel nearly 100% of the way on a multi-lane expressway, rather than a one-lane road, greatly alleviating the dreaded Hamptons traffic, and Westhampton still remains close enough to all the other eastern towns for day trips and quick visits. You can’t beat it if you ask me! –Ashley Farrell, The Corcoran Group

I moved out here from the city 15 years ago, and I absolutely love it. The appeal here in the summers is pretty obvious but the question I get from a lot of people is, “How is it living here in the winter?” To that, I can honestly answer that it’s still amazing. There are still plenty of restaurants open (just much less crowded), going to the beach for a walk or jog is extremely peaceful and there’s a thriving indoor tennis scene out here. While the vineyards are not my thing, there are, of course, plenty to choose from. Furthermore, we’re only 90 minutes to the Midtown Tunnel, so if we want to drive in to catch a show and have dinner, it’s very manageable. –Gene Gilyutin, Hampton Estates Realty

If you live here, you’re lucky, because Westhampton Beach is a really great community. It’s a small-town, beach community. It’s such a great place to live, work, shop, dine and do everything. I’ve been in business 34 years, and it’s amazing–and a really great place to raise a family. [In real estate] my little quote is, “Invest in West!” –Elyse Richman, Nest Seekers International

The proximity to the city, the airport and the rest of the South Fork and the North Fork, too. Plus, with a brand new revitalized Main Street, Westhampton Beach reminds me more and more of Sag Harbor. And, of course, there’s the top-notch school district, it’s one of the best school systems on the whole East End. That’s why I’m here. –Enzo Morabito, Douglas Elliman

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