Top Hamp­tons Bro­kers Turn Up Heat with Shorter Sales Sea­son

The Jewish Voice - - THE HAMPTONS - By Han­nah Hayes

This year, the num­ber 1 spot in The Real Deal’s rank­ing of the top real es­tate bro­kers of the East End went to the duo Zachary and Cody Vichin­sky, who started Be­spoke Real Es­tate three years ago and have close to $1 bil­lion in ex­clu­sive list­ings.

The brother power duo ex­clu­sively han­dles the most ex­pen­sive prop­er­ties. As of early June, they had 36 list­ings that ac­counted for a com­bined to­tal that was slightly over $969 mil­lion. The sib­lings’ bro­ker­age took the num­ber 6 stop in The Real Deal’s rank­ing of East End Bro­ker­ages, since they are in on all the firms deals.

Zachary Vichin­sky told TRD, “We have a my­opic fo­cus on the high end of the mar­ket. Our busi­ness model is strictly re­lated to the high end, $10 mil­lion and up.”

Zachary told TRD that Be­spoke al­ready closed on its 15th deal for more than $10mil­lion this year by mid-June. Even the Villa Maria, which was on and off the mar­ket for al­most 10 years and is a 28-room for­mer nun­nery, is spark­ing buy­ers’ in­ter­est, ac­cord­ing to Zachary. This 15-acre es­tate has gone through mul­ti­ple price changes; last year they dropped the price down to $72 mil­lion from $100 mil­lion in 2008. Zachary said, “At this point, it’s a value prop­erty.”

Ac­cord­ing to TRD, “The preva­lent theme among the top bro­kers TRD spoke to was that the year got off to a slow start, but come June, buy­ers came a-knock­ing and the mar­ket started rock­ing — or if not rock­ing, pick­ing up a sub­stan­tial amount of steam, al­beit at lower price points. The spring’s cold, wet weather and a creep­ing shift in the sales sea­son, which bro­kers say now starts in late June and July in­stead of Me­mo­rial Day, all con­trib­uted to the slower start.

While av­er­age prices in the first quar­ter lagged be­hind those of the year-ago quar­ter by 8.9 per­cent, the over­all num­ber of sales was up 8 per­cent, the re­sult in part, bro­kers said, of a re­luc­tance to buy last year due to the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the elec­tion. The de­cline in the lux­ury seg­ment — the top 10 per­cent of the mar­ket — was most de­fined in the first quar­ter, with the av­er­age sales price down a steep 24.1 per­cent to $6.7 mil­lion and the num­ber of sales drop­ping by 6.7 per­cent year over year. Jonathan Miller, pres­i­dent of Miller Sa­muel real es­tate ap­prais­ers and con­sul-

tants, said there was a lot less ac­tiv­ity in the $5 mil­lion-andup range but that high-end sales were start­ing to re­cover in the sec­ond quar­ter.”

Miller told TRD, “Go­ing into the spring, we’re see­ing more of those sales oc­cur, and there­fore the mar­ket feels bet­ter than it did in the last cou­ple of quar­ters.”

The up­turn in ac­tiv­ity in the mar­ket could be at­trib­uted to high-end prop­er­ties de­creas­ing their ask­ing prices on av­er­age by 16.2 per­cent in this first quar­ter, which was close to dou­ble the rate of dis­count­ing dur­ing this quar­ter a year ago.

Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Re­alty’s Har­ald Grant, whose $402 mil­lion in ex­clu­sive list­ings earned him fourth place in TRD’s rank­ings for this year, said, “They have to make it at­trac­tive. For the av­er­age 2-acre prop­erty in Southamp­ton that is ask­ing $12 mil­lion, $9.5 mil­lion is per­ceived as good value.”

The prop­er­ties that are do­ing the best are in the $1 mil­lion to $5 mil­lion part of the mar­ket.

Christo­pher Burn­side, a bro­ker with Brown Harris Stevens, which ranked num­ber five for TRD’s top East End bro­ker­age firms, said, “Prop­er­ties at $2 mil­lion to $3 mil­lion in Bridge­hamp­ton and Wa­ter Mill, I could sell all day long. New con­struc­tion in the $3 mil­lion-to-$4 mil­lion range is also very busy.”

Villa Maria, the for­mer nun­nery in Wa­ter Mill that is now on the mar­ket for $72 mil­lion, is one of the many high value prop­er­ties rep­re­sented by Be­spoke Real Es­tate’s Zachary and Cody Vichin­sky.

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