Real Estate Confab: Predicting East End Real Estate Trends For 2024

Hamptons Real Estate

The East End real estate market constantly evolves with new developments, shifting buyer demographics, and emerging trends. As we move into 2024, the Hamptons and North Fork luxury home segment is poised for some exciting changes. From sustainability to smart home technology to wellness amenities, buyers at the high end are looking for more than just a pretty home in a nice neighborhood. They’re also watching interest rates, no matter the price point.

We asked some of our most esteemed brokers and agents to explore some of the top emerging real estate directions anticipated for the East End market with their insider’s perspective on where we are heading for 2024 and how homeowners can adapt to capitalize on them.

Martha Gundersen, Douglas Elliman

I see a re-emergence of a bit of traditional decor. I.e., antiques are no longer not welcome. The attraction here will continue to be good architecture mixed with clean line modern furniture mixed with a touch of warmth meaning a special antique to add warmth and comfort. I see a trend away from white shingle-painted homes and continued use of more sustainable products in and outside. Another trend will be fewer yard-scapes and more environmentally sustainable use of indigenous plants that use fewer chemicals and noise (mowers and blowers).

Lower interest rates will surely bring people back to buying and selling. More inventory will hit the market and prices will adjust a bit. However, the exclusivity of the Hamptons combined with the beauty of the environment will never be a bargain. I just think lower rates will help move the fear needle.

Judi Desiderio, Town & Country Real Estate

Judi Desiderio. Courtesy of Town & Country Real Estate

2024 will be a very interesting year for East End real estate.

As I’ve always said, our Hampton markets are umbilically connected to Wall Street. To that end, early January had been punishing to markets and we all know what Wall Street says about January and the rest of the year. This may affect the $18-28M markets most.

Let’s see how the rest of January goes.

On a positive note, the rocket pushing interest rates up at lightning speed seems to be in the rearview mirror thanks to a taming of the inflation beast.

We are all hopeful that the unrest in the world and the widespread uncertainty will calm down this year, hopefully.

Inventory should pick up as many have sat on the sidelines for the past few years wanting to sell at the top while lifestyle changes prevail. Time marches on.

All told, I believe this year will be better than last, not a banner or a bust year unless something unforeseen occurs that disrupts all aspects of life. We’re all looking forward to a new year. Here’s to 2024!

Susan Breitenbach, The Corcoran Group

Susan Breitenbach. Courtesy of The Corcoran Gorup
Susan Breitenbach. Courtesy of The Corcoran Gorup

Most experts are predicting that we won’t see rates come down much before the second quarter. We are advising our customers to act now and refinance later. In the interim, the owner gains equity and isn’t subject to potential increases in prices!

A lot of things change, but one thing that hasn’t is people want to be in the Hamptons! In all the 33 years I have been a top broker, it has always been a very good investment and have no doubt will continue to be!

Most are customers; no matter whether they have a million or hundreds of millions of dollars, they are on the same page; they are not willing to overpay, but if they find something that works and makes sense, they are buying. Looking forward to 2024!

Oakley-Leicht Team, Saunders & Associates

Patty Oakley and Brian Lecht of Saunders & Associates.

As we leave 2023 behind, having experienced a slight shift in the market due to higher interest rates, worldwide uncertainty, and a shift from a seller’s market to more of a buyer’s market at pre-pandemic levels, we look forward to new opportunities that 2024 will bring.

Putting life on hold will be in the past as 2024 is going to be a year of investing in the Hamptons. With the Fed having cut rates by almost 1.50 percent from its high in 2023 and predictions to make more cuts this year, we will see those buyers that took a pause, re-engage. As the market “finds itself” in Q1 we are still faced with an inventory deficit in some specific price points. Consequently, those prices will remain somewhat stable. Let’s remember that for many, cash is still sitting on the sidelines and when a correctly priced home comes to market, savvy buyers will seize the opportunity. Historically, an election year tends to make some people pause waiting for the outcome, but honestly, it has never hurt the Hamptons market. A trip to Europe, which was on hold for many over the last couple of years, is now in the past, and having a home in the Hamptons is a strong option. We are already involved with contracts being signed and rentals being secured.

What does this all mean for homeowners? If you are planning to list your home for sale, it is imperative to price your home correctly. Hire a team or agent that has experience working through the ups and downs of various markets and has the knowledge to guide you correctly. Sellers and landlords do need to be accepting of what the market will bring them and what their agents tell them and not turn away a fair deal. It is those who are given the false promise of unrealistic pricing that lose. The customer will just go find another option or be patient for something else to hit the market that works for their needs. Homeowners need to use what 2024 is bringing to them and capitalize on it. There are always opportunities in any market, and we are very optimistic that 2024 will continue to show great promise.

Rich Dec, The Corcoran Group

Rich Dec. Courtesy of The Corcoran Group

The Hamptons real estate market will most likely see more active buyers come back to the market in 2024 as interest rates continue to drop — albeit slightly. Local inventory continues to be at historic lows and until more homeowners decide to either trade up or relocate, we should see prices holding strong for quite some time. With that said, typically, in an election year, we tend to see buyers be a bit more gun-shy in committing to a purchase. The plus side is that we’re largely a second home market — and again with limited inventory — so we may be surprised by year-end. However, it’s important to note that sellers will need to be realistic about pricing. Otherwise, we may see more homes staying on the market longer with little to no activity which could stall our market.  Despite the current complexities, keep in mind that our history has proven year after year, decade after decade, that buying Hamptons real estate is a solid tangible investment with notable gains in equity.

Robert Canberg, Nest Seekers

Robert Canberg. Courtesy of Nest Seekers

Excitedly looking ahead to the 2024 East End Real Estate Market, early signs are already indicating an uptick in both buyer and rental demand. My team and I have been proactive, already securing deals and finalizing summer leases for our clients, in the first 2 weeks of the new year, a trend we expect to continue.

The current situation, with global economic uncertainties and reduced international travel, seems to be redirecting attention to the local real estate scene. The anticipated further drop in mortgage rates and potential inflation cooling bode well for East End buyers and sellers.

Looking back at a buyer pause in the previous year, it seems that the pent-up demand, combined with stabilizing interest rates potentially ranging from 5 to 7 percent, is leading to more deals in the market. Despite the limited current inventory, discerning buyers are eager to act swiftly before any potential price increases.

Adding another layer to the dynamics, are those buyers potentially impacted by the international markets now looking to exit, diversify, and expand their East End real estate portfolio. The increase of buyers, with a potentially continued and lesser inventory may lead to multiple bidding scenarios and increased competition among buyers. The advice for all parties involved is to navigate these market shifts with strategic decision-making.

My overall outlook for the 2024 East End Real Estate Market is quite positive. Driven by factors such as increased demand, lower mortgage rates, and the potential for stabilized interest rates. It’s now a market where proactive decisions and strategic moves will likely play a crucial role in securing favorable outcomes for all of our clients, especially early on.  Buyers and sellers alike need to stay attuned, but I believe the days of sitting on the sidelines are behind us.

Adam Hofer, Douglas Elliman

Adam Hofer. Courtesy of Douglas Elliman
Adam Hofer. Courtesy of Douglas Elliman

It continues to surprise! A truly turnkey home at the right price will still sell quickly, and even homes that have been on the market for a little while I have seen selling respectfully close to ask and with a lot of last-minute interest. Both of these scenarios prove that there is still a shortage of inventory but no shortage of buyers. With the last few weeks of positive economic and interest rate news, I have seen buyers perk up as they gain confidence to make a move.

The recent positive economic and interest rate news has instilled the confidence a lot of buyers needed to feel comfortable making a move and there is a lot of activity out there. So I would say that this year’s trend will be for all of those who have been on the sidelines the last 12 to 18 months and will most likely make their move this year before rates get too low because then it will get competitive.

Homeowners who have given any thought to selling probably should while inventory remains low. The bottom line is you will always get more than you would have four years ago, that’s not going away, but it does make life a little easier to sell with less competition.

Heather Buchanan, Sotheby’s International Realty

The good news for the slow real estate market is the Fed’s signaling of potential rate cuts in 2024. Even cash buyers in the Hamptons are financing against their portfolios so the numbers matter, especially as a home is a major purchase. It’s well worth talking to a mortgage broker as 2024 also ushers in higher conforming loan limits which can be favorable. Without the COVID madness, local builders may be more available for projects. One builder said for the first time in years he had subcontractors calling looking for work. The market is also not monolithic – rarity can also play a factor in demand such as a listing I have on coveted Main Street in Sag Harbor Village. Knowing a real estate agent is always valuable, especially in advising on new rules which range from Certificate of Occupancy requirements for sales to the numerous rental registries. As I listen to my buyers and sellers, importantly, it is not just about the numbers but about life: birth, death, marriage, and divorce. Home is an emotional concept of a safe space, especially in an increasingly unsafe world. It’s about writing the next chapter in a story and it’s my pleasure to help.

Hal Zwick, Compass

Hal Zwick. Photo: Ty Wenzel

I am a commercial specialist — working throughout all communities on both Forks.

While witnessing some obstacles over the last year, the commercial marketplace is vibrant with an abundance of on and off-market listings. Higher interest rates have put “on hold” some property sales as owners would not lower prices to meet the rising cost of borrowing money. This impacted investment sites as 2023 progressed. However, we have seen buyers entertain returning to the market more aggressively — seeking to go to contract with closings later in the year when rates are lower.

We have continued to see strong demand for owner-occupied/managed entities such as restaurants, resorts, and food businesses. Deals have been negotiated, with announcements to follow soon. There are new national investment companies seeking hospitality properties. They are sophisticated groups with the resources to enter into quick transactions. They seek and buy value-added entities to upgrade and increase their value significantly.

The industrial trade market will continue to be strong. However, the office market is the one sub-category that has seen an absolute decline in demand post-Covid as professionals returned to their offices in New York City.

Retail leasing continues to be robust. East Hampton, Sag Harbor, and Main Street in Southampton are committed to long-term tenants. There is now an urgency for those seeking sites to secure a location. Consequently, there will be few pop-up seasonal tenants in 2024.

To summarize, with high demand – buyers and sellers are coming to terms, and we expect this to continue throughout the year.

Ty Wenzel

Co-Publisher & Contributor

Ty Wenzel started her career as a fashion coordinator for Bloomingdale’s followed by fashion editor for Cosmopolitan Magazine. She was also a writer for countless publications, including having published a memoir and written features for The New York Times. She is an award-winning writer and designer who covers lifestyle, real estate, architecture and interiors for James Lane Post. Wenzel is also a co-founder of the meditation app for kids, DreamyKid, and the social media agency, TWM Hamptons Social Media.

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