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The East End, Town by Town

How to navigate the five major Hamptons markets right now.


Montauk

The scene: Manic, for both buyers and renters. StreetEasy shows first-quarter purchase prices doubling since 2009 (from $423,500 to $850,000). As Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Lori Barbaria puts it, “I saw a trailer on the ocean for $450,000.” Similarly, renters are grabbing “almost anything.”

Advice: Try homeaway.com and vacationrentals.com, which tend to draw owners who rent out their places intermittently. That can mean last-minute bargains.

Best rental deal: A one-bedroom in surfer’s paradise Ditch Plains, at $10,000 for the summer. (Broker: Kristin Mallinson, Prudential Douglas Elliman.)

Craziest sale listing: A five-bedroom mansion (pictured) built to withstand 150-mph winds. It’s $50 million. (Broker: Susan Breitenbach, the Corcoran Group.)



East Hampton

The scene: There are more three-bedrooms for sale at less than $500,000 than in any other East End town. Ditto for August rentals asking $10,000 and under.

Advice: Don’t haggle too hard. Landlords have been getting their asking prices, says Saunders & Associates’ Karen Benvenuto.

Best deal: A three-bedroom ranch on Morris Park Lane, for sale at $290,000. (Broker: John Brady, Prudential Douglas Elliman.)

Cheapest August rental: A three-bedroom (pictured) near the village, for $4,000 per week from August 1 to Labor Day. (Broker: Gale Conetta, Saunders & Associates.)



Bridgehampton & Sagaponack

The scene: Selling is brisk below the $3 million mark. A lot of the spec houses that sat unsold through last year have been bought up, says Andrew Saunders of Saunders & Associates, but $6 million–to– $10 million properties can be had at 2005 levels. The rental season is not looking favorable to latecomers: Most good houses (perfect location, great architecture) are already gone, says Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Raymond Smith, and the recent sunny weekends have trucked in lots of shoppers.

Advice: Go contemporary and north of the highway.

Best deal in that $6 million–to– $10 million range: A five-bedroom house with a pool and tennis court—and not yet finished (architect’s rendering, pictured)—for $6.495 million. (Broker: Chris Burnside, Brown Harris Stevens.)



Sag Harbor

The scene: Hit as hard as anywhere last year, Sag Harbor is gaining momentum. According to the Long Island Real Estate Report, there were no transactions in the village in the first three months of 2009; this year, a sale broke the village record, at $13.75 million. As for rentals, there are fashionable four-bedrooms in North Haven that can be rented for $45,000 to $60,000 for the whole summer and would’ve gone for 20 percent more at their peak, advises Tara Newman of Saunders & Associates.

Advice: Landlords are eager to rent full seasons rather than month by month, so if you can swing the former, you may get a better deal.

Cheapest sale listing: A three-bedroom, two-bath in Sag Harbor’s historic district, at $429,000. (Brokers: Linda Casinover and Richard Kudlak, Prudential Douglas Elliman.)

Best rental bargain: A new four-bedroom with water views, at $1,250 a week. (Broker: John Christopher, Brown Harris Stevens.)



Southampton & Water Mill

The scene: Definitely recovering. In Southampton, the number of closings in the first quarter tripled over the same period last year.

Advice: For buyers, there’s a lot of inventory in the $1.5 million–to–$3.5 million range, notes Corcoran’s Rick Hoffman. Barbaria also suggests making rental offers on houses that are for sale and agreeing to keep the place prepped for showings; owners may knock as much as 20 percent off the rent.

Cheapest house: A two-bedroom cottage off the ocean, at $298,000.

Best deal: A pretty Cape Cod (pictured) in the village, at $1.5 million. (Broker: Rik Kristiansson, the Corcoran Group.)


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