Real estate in the North Fork and west of the canal is the next big thing, says a panel of East End builders, brokers, and designers.
The roundtable at Quogue Club.
What are some of the characteristics that you find west of the canal and/ or the North Fork? Robert Brown: No traffic. Traffic going out East is horrendous in the mornings. It is hard to do business; your workers are out of the house 12 or 15 hours a day and getting paid for eight, because it is just a journey to get out East. Marcia Altman: Also the lifestyle. The North Fork is a slower pace. Enzo Morabito: I agree. I have been coming out here since I was a kid. My parents rented a house in Westhampton Beach and Quogue, and I never saw the need to go past. MA: People ask me all the time, “Is the North Fork going to turn into the Hamptons?” Absolutely not, because the people who are coming over from the Hamptons are coming because they want the North Fork to remain the way it is. And our townships are extremely aggressive in maintaining that character.
Let us take this beyond what these places are not, and get to the characteristics of what they are. MA: When people want a second home, they go where their friends are. If their friends are in Remsenburg, that is the only place to be. Remsenburg is not very well known because it does not end in the word “Hampton”; in a way, that is good because it keeps it quiet and private. Remsenburg has more waterways than any other part of the Hamptons, so you have more waterfront homes than anywhere else. RB: It is totally undervalued. MA: Yes, and it is catching up. Some people with foresight have been selling homes east of the canal for a big profit, and coming here and buying. Debra Gildersleeve: A lot of young couples are renting in the city, and they are choosing to buy in the North Fork. They want that quality of life. They work in the city and they have to be there, but this is where they would rather have their kids spend their [free time].
92 Beach Lane in Westhampton Beach, another listing from Enzo Morabito. The eight-bedroom home was built around 1870 by shipwrights from Sag Harbor, using woodwork details from ships of the period.
What happened there and why? Harris Cohen: Every 10 years or so, The New York Times would write an article about the undiscovered North Fork. We would sort of hold our breaths and wait for the explosion. I see people coming out to Greenport and the North Fork, and buying very old houses with good bones and restoring them to their former glory. Donielle Cardinale: One of the things that makes Greenport so special is that it is the only walking village on the North Fork. That makes it very desirable for people who are coming out from the city. A lot of them don’t have a car or are not accustomed to driving everywhere. You can go out to a huge number of restaurants, bars, and different little shops. You have the carousel for the kids. There is so much to offer in that very consolidated little spot. HC: The nature of the infrastructure of the village is such that it does not seem like it can change very much. There is really no place in the village of Greenport for a new site division. It is what it is, and people are coming for that stability.
An East Quogue modern oceanfront with pool, represented by Marcia Altman from Brown Harris Stevens.
How does that affect the way that people are decorating their homes? RB: We are doing a lot of master bedroom suites on the ground floor, which is just a demographic phenomenon. On the inside, people are looking for detail. There are a lot of moldings—simple, classic kinds of looks. DG: My client likes that upholstered headboard with a mirrored nightstand and cool lighting fixture in the bedroom, and lots of area rugs.
What about Quogue? Who is attracted to that area? DC: Young families who started out as group renters in a big house with a lot of singles, and ultimately are now in a position to buy a second home. They are coming so that their kids can have a place out of the city to run around and have a life like most would like to give their children. The older families are the parents with kids and grandchildren who figure if they can have a nice big place in the Hamptons, then everyone will come, and they do.
A shingle-style oceanfront home located in sought-after Quogue Village, listed by Enzo Morabito.
What do you think will be in the future for all these places? MA: I think people will keep coming here more and more. As the traffic going further east becomes more and more congested, that will continue. RB: We always felt that once my son gets through school, we would move back out East. We don’t feel like that anymore. My sense of my community is [in Westhampton], and we are very happy. EM: When I was out in the North Fork, it was an education for me. When we started the company out there, everybody would say to me, “People are buying in the Hamptons, and then they are moving to the North Fork.” That is not true. Very few people living [in the Hamptons] move to the North Fork. MA: Ten years ago, I would say that was 100 percent correct; it has only been in the last five years that we are seeing a big influx of people from the South Fork moving to the North Fork. Both of these areas we are discussing today really have a lot of similarities in that they are probably far more appealing in terms of a long-term investment. If I am going to put my money somewhere, I would prefer to put it in one of these up-and-coming areas than something that has already popped.