From advances in technology to a burgeoning year-round community, a panel of East End real estate experts discusses the elements that are drawing people to the Hamptons and keeping them here long-term.
Where are we now and how did we get here? Matthew Breitenbach: The Hamptons has always been a great place to invest. Growing up here, I’ve seen the Hamptons change so much. There’s more of a pulse here than there’s ever been, and it’s exciting. West Chin: There are more and more young families coming through my store and my restaurant. I also notice many people are priced out of buying in New York City, so out here they can afford to buy a house and have an acre of land close to the beach, have the investment value of it and the rental value.
What do you see as the future? David Valley: One of the reasons why the Hamptons is becoming a strong market globally is because now we see people from all over the world. The Hamptons is more like an international brand than just a domestic, New York, Wall Street kind of [place]. MB: Which is great for the community. Local businesses are making more money, the restaurants are making more money. You can stay open year-round… Chris Minardi: Technology is making the Hamptons more accessible. That’s the norm, especially in super-high-end houses, where it’s not a feature anymore; it’s a necessity.
A geisha-inspired mural divides two flexible dining spaces at Momi Ramen, designed by West Chin Architects & Interior Designers.
What changes have you seen altering the Hamptons lifestyle? We’ve talked about technology, we’ve talked about more year-roundness, but let’s go to architecture, let’s go to interior design. DV: If I could speak about home theaters, they’re coming back. [People would] just rather stay home, enjoy a nice movie. It’s really a must now in every home that I’m working on. Joan Limongello: I see people moving to a house that they had built for themselves, and two years later it’s up for sale and they’re going on to something else. Going back to the theaters, though, we haven’t done a house without a theater in years, but the customers now don’t want so much the theater [chairs]; they like [more of a media room]. DV: [And] home automation—come home and make sure you have music, you have to be able to watch every TV—all of these things are becoming standard. JL: We just sold this house on Jobs Lane; all they do is sit back and monitor the house. “What’s the temperature? The temperature in that bedroom is not the same as the other one. You should look at that…” And this is when they’re in New York. They also want to be able to turn their Jacuzzi on from New York and make sure it’s at 104 when they get here. CM: There’s more specialized experts. Fifteen years ago, you didn’t have media people or landscape lighting. JL: Our AV guy is basically like a doctor on call, because when people come out here, if they can’t figure something out, they want that person there making sure that everything is perfect for them.
A modern home in Amagansett designed by Bates Masi Architects and listed by Matthew Breitenbach.
Are there any other architectural or interior design trends you’re seeing in addition to security? JL: Everything is going really, really modern. A few years ago, we were doing more traditional on the outside and modern on the in. Now they want that modern, really clean—there is nothing around doors, nothing on the walls, which is very difficult to do because there’s no Band-Aids to cover anything. When I first started to build out here, in 1982, we were building for $17 a square foot. Modern houses now are over $1,000 a square foot. MB: The Hamptons is a different type of modern I don’t think you see in other markets. It’s more a warmer [type] that maybe fits the landscape.
What are some of the materials being used now? JL: The materials are basically the same, except the sidings are a lot of exotic woods. It’s some form of mahogany, there’s something called cumaru, there’s something called sapele, but they’re all very dense woods. A lot of people are using stucco; a lot of people are using metal roofs, flat roofs; a lot of greenscape going on on the tops of houses. And then, of course, all the infinity-edge swimming pools. It’s getting more and more like “What else can we put outside to attract a buyer?” CM: Buyers now want to maximize the property, whether it’s inside, outside, underground. WC: People feel like they have too much stuff in their life and they want to declutter. So they want everything hidden, which means more modern, usually. They don’t want to walk in and be inundated by an interior that is full of tchotchkes and moldings and heavy wallpaper. They want to feel like it’s light and goes right out to the outside.