When you examine at the rental market across the East End of Long Island, specifically the Hamptons and the North Fork, you can’t help but notice that the 2014 rental season is off to a strong start. This rise in rentals speaks to the overall strength of the market and the recovery of the financial systems. We spoke to professionals on both forks to uncover the trends and the market nuances that make real estate the foremost topic of conversation.
“Each part of our Peconic region has its own wonderful characteristics. Visitors now look at both sides for a great summer getaway,” says Joan Bischoff van Heemskerck, Executive Sales Manager, North Fork and Shelter Island, Town & Country Real Estate. “On the North Fork, better rentals are being taken real fast. Conventional thinking is that a great selling season as we had in 2013 takes many rentals out of the market. Not so in our experience. On the North Fork we traditonally have fewer rentals which are being met with increasing demand because of the farm to table, bucolic lifestyle so many visitors are looking to be part of. South Fork beaches remain a trade-off against North Fork vineyards and farms. T & C is experiencing a hustling and bustling market on both sides.”
Nancy Grady, Associate Broker, Brown Harris Stevens of the Hamptons, says that she’s seeing an “up-tick in pre-season rentals. People are taking May and June and getting a great deal. I even rented my own house for November, December, and January to people who wanted who wanted to spread out over the Holiday Season instead of staying in their apartment. July is also gaining in popularity as opposed to the traditional August.” But when is the best time to rent? Grady explains, “I have always thought that July is the best month and people seem to be discovering that. The days are longer, the weather is better, and everyone is just in a better mood. By August, the crowds and summer burnout set in.”
“More and more, renters want to be close to town, not way out in the woods. Pools and central air conditioning are must-haves. Child-proof pools are important,” Kenneth Meyer, Salesperson, Douglas Elliman says. “Many of our tenants are families. Amagansett Dunes is a number one destination. It is the most affordable ‘walk to the ocean’ location on the South Fork. Montauk has experienced major growth over the last several years.”
David Zazula, Salesperson, Halstead East Hampton, is looking forward to an active rental market this year telling Hamptons.com, “I am receiving calls and emails almost constantly, both from repeat customers and from new customers. So are the owners. I think there will be an increase in the in the longer term or full rental season. Prices are up slightly from last year. Most renters are looking for the usual amenities: central air, heated pool, Wi-Fi, clean, tchotchkes-free, close to town and/or beach, some kind of lawn area, and, if they have children, a child-proof pool is very important.”
“There is virtually no supply of year end rentals under $3,000 a month that are decent,” says veteran real estate agent Martha Gundersen, Associate Broker, Brown Harris Stevens of the Hamptons. “On the high end there are several $200,000 to $400,000 Memorial Day to Labor Day that have been taken. I have a very high rental that has $2 million in décor, art, and furniture. It has been received well. Also, there are many houses that are renewing last year’s leases.”
Shawn Steinmuller, Associate Broker, Nest Seekers International, reported to us a record January in terms of rentals, “Many people renting early and many tenants taking the same house for the season.”
“Landlords and real estate agents tend to prefer Memorial Day to Labor Day rentals, while consumer demand today definitely has a very short-term component – as short as weekends,” says Joan Bischoff van Heemskerck. “Beds & Breakfasts are mostly booked solid. Wedding guests are looking for hyper short-term rentals. In today’s life-style, packing up for the entire summer is for a very few only. Now it is easier to work from your summer residence and the commute is so easy between the North Fork and points west, we see weekenders take full-season rentals and making use of the casual affordability of the North Fork.”
One final thought with respect to children and pools, certificates of occupancy, fair housing laws, and insurance, these are crucial issues about which landlords, tenants, and realtors should seek counsel from appropriate professionals before becoming involved in the rental market.