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How COVID-19 has transformed the second home market in The Hamptons 

Adeel Mallick

As 2020 comes to a close, we’re reflecting on the myriad twists and turns that this year has taken. As a society, we’ve shifted from working 5 days a week in an office to working from home, from in-person schooling to Zoom lessons, from making weekly grocery store trips to doing all of our shopping online.

One remarkable new shift that has arisen in the COVID world: the jump in second-home ownership. When residents of major cities started to work from home, they sought out spacious environments and comforts that cities often lack. As a result, the demand for second homes in vacation towns and suburbs across the nation spiked.

This trend has been most visible in New York City, from where residents have migrated in droves to the Hamptons. In fact, a Douglas-Elliman report showed that signed contracts for single-family homes in the Hamptons more than doubled year-over-year.

Residential inventory is now limited, and there have been a significant number of cases of fierce home buying competition. This marks a notable change from the Hamptons market’s historically limited and exclusive pool of clientele.

What factors have contributed to the boost in Hamptons home sales?

The Hamptons second-home market was made attractive in large part because of the newfound flexibility that New York City residents enjoyed.

While previously, those with Hamptons vacation homes would spend the odd weekend or summer week in their secondary residences, the pandemic allowed them to migrate to their Hamptons home and enjoy their second homes much more.

The Hamptons is no longer a playground for New Yorkers, but instead is rapidly becoming a housing market where many are settling down, regardless of whether it's a second or primary home.

  • This novel flexibility from which city residents are benefiting is a result of technological advancements that permit a “WFA” (work-from-anywhere) lifestyle. 
  • One Gallup study found that 33% of U.S. workers now work remotely all the time, and 25% now work remotely some of the time. Approximately two-thirds of employees want to continue working remotely in some capacity.
  • And New York City residents have been even less likely to go back to working in brick and mortar locations than residents of other major metropolitan areas due to some of the structural disadvantages that NYC faces in the time of COVID. For example, the risk of transmission has left many nervous about using the city’s public transportation systems to commute to work. 
  • These factors, combined with platforms like Zoom that facilitate telecommuting, have driven many New Yorkers out of the city and into picturesque suburban neighborhoods.

Market dynamics to be aware of

The pandemic has changed the way we approach many aspects of our daily lives. Post-COVID, it’s unlikely that people will go back to working in offices 5 days a week. The newfound flexibility that many are enjoying and have grown accustomed to will likely persist. So what does this mean for the Hamptons second home market?

The immense growth that the Hamptons home market has seen in 2020 is likely to continue as families look to enjoy slower-paced lifestyles and more relaxed environments than major cities can provide on a year-round basis.

Be sure to check back next month where we'll be discussing popular home renovations and upgrades!

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