Real Estate Round Table: 2018 in Review

Top view with 2018 REVIEW on old paper and coffee cup,pencil on

Bidding wars, the U.S. Open, strength in some segments, weakness in others. . . Our panel of local real estate experts dishes on their biggest surprise in 2018 and what they hope for in 2019.


Douglas Sabo, Nest Seekers International

The biggest surprise for me last year was my work doing rentals for the U.S. Open. I learned so much through the process. It was fascinating to learn how truly big of an organization the U.S.G.A. is and how much goes into the one-week event. I didn’t realize how much work it really would end up being, but I was more than happy to do it. In 2019, I hope for continued success in my profession for myself and fellow agents, as well as continued health and well-being for my family and friends.


Aimee Martin, Saunders & Associates

The biggest surprise for me was that Hampton sales weren’t as robust as expected, despite all the money in the stock market. It feels like we transitioned from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market. My real estate crystal ball for 2019 shows an awesome year for everyone!


Paul Brennan, Douglas Elliman

The biggest surprise was the confidence in the Hamptons market never materialized despite the very positive momentum in the stock market and the overall economy. Yes, there were a number of notable transactions, but no feeling of positive momentum. Let’s hope 2019 turns “it will happen next quarter” into a first- quarter reality.


Dana Trotter, Sotheby’s International

The biggest surprise for me was how fast my Sagaponack listing, 134 Narrow Lane, sold in a tough market, but it goes to show that special properties always garner attention. In 2019 I hope to do more deals like that with thoughtful owners and compelling properties!


John Christopher, Sotheby’s International

The biggest surprise in 2018: in the past, if the economy was robust, unemployment down, GDP up, bonuses good, it reflected well in our market. That wasn’t the case this go-around. For the first time in close to 10 years, we are seeing a correction.

I believe in the early part of 2019, we’ll see the bottom and a return to normalcy. Now is a great time to buy.


Judi Desiderio, Town & Country

Our biggest surprise for 2018 was how strong the year ended. It was the best fourth quarter in years. I’m looking forward to all of 2019 since I believe we will see a diversification into hard assets, of which real estate is number one–and it’s one you can live in!


Gary DePersia, The Corcoran Group

My biggest surprise was to have four bidding wars this year, from a $2.2 million listing all the way up to over $20 million. It showed me that regardless of the doom-and-gloom prophesiers these days, there are serious, motivated buyers who are not afraid of engaging when they see what they want in the Hamptons.


Carol Nobbs, Douglas Elliman

The biggest surprise for me in 2018 was how quickly technological innovation changed the way customers look for inventory and ultimately purchase. Two more trends: baby boomers are downsizing–selling their houses and renting. Also, the online presence of agents changed; they’re doing their own branding and also advertising their exclusives on the internet. All of the above have been in play for a while, but in 2018 they went into full effect!


Kim West, The Corcoran Group

Every day is a big surprise in real estate! If I had to pick, though, I would have to say my biggest surprise would have been a waterfront listing that I sold this past year in Southold.

This particular piece was truly a once-in-a-lifetime offering. It was a truly magical spot: a hilltop home with a grandfathered boathouse, dock, beach and magnificent unobstructed views of Peconic Bay. The property ended up closing for well over ask. Needless to say, my clients were more than pleasantly surprised, and they were wonderful to work with, as well!

As for my hopes in 2019, I am confident that in my seventh year with Corcoran, I will continue to grow my business. That being said, each year I only hope to at least match, if not exceed, my personal business from the prior year. Anything more to me is an absolute bonus!


Martha Gundersen, Brown Harris Stevens

The biggest surprise was how hot the market was on the lower end, and how so many amazing homes in the $3 million to $5 million range sat unsold. Some oceanfront properties that rarely come on the market not only sat, but were discounted.