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New Voices In Hamptons Real Estate

Originally Posted: April 30, 2008

Lona Rubenstein

Brokers Lori Sanicola MacGarva (of the local Bologna, Verderosa, Sanicola tribe) and Robert Kohr, (a former owner of Claws on Wheels, a local product whose daughter Tessa, almost seven, is following Dad's footsteps through the East Hampton school system) are doing something special - broadening their vision out of Prudential Douglas Elliman's East Hampton Office. They are providing commercial services in Eastern Suffolk, part of that firm's established "bona fide" and far reaching (national, not just regional) Commercial Services segment.

Property listed with Prudential Douglas Elliman.

Smart, I think, for these two experienced agents to enlarge their market and focus in an area of real estate not that well developed out east, becoming, by the way, Prudential Douglas Elliman's only commercial agents out east.

Commercial selling, buying and leasing is very different from selling homes, land, and rentals and these two brokers know that and know their stuff.

They have sold the old Blue Door antiques shop in Sagaponack to the Animal Rescue Fund (among other deals in contract) and have listed exclusively commercial properties from Riverhead, North Fork, and South Fork, like the Montauk prime restaurant, marina, boatyard, multiple dwelling offering they are servicing right now. Good luck guys! We know you have the know-how.

From the Corcoran Group's East End honcho Rick Hoffman we get some "East End 2007 numbers - We can now talk about our market presence," writes Hoffman, "as we can be fairly certain all deals have been recorded at the Country Clerk's office for 2007. According to Suffolk Profiles and County records there were 54 residential sales of $10 million or more last year. Corcoran is once again the market leader in all sales on the East End of $10 million or more, representing more than half of these transactions, far more than any other individual brokerage. We are proud of our stellar performance."

Yes, well, if you've got it, Bub, might as well flaunt it. Nice going!

Talking about numbers, we get some good news and, oh, well, let's just say other news as to first quarter 2008 from George Simpson, President of Suffolk Research. (Hey look guys, buyer's markets thrive as well as the other kind. They provide opportunities and those sellers who prefer waiting for the up turn, and are able to, can hold off for now).

Property listed with The Corcoran Group.

In any case, according to Simpson's data, "the real estate market on the East End of Long Island is down compared with First Quarter of 2007. Median prices for single family homes on the East End declined from $690,000 in First Quarter 2007 to $665,000 in First Quarter 2008. Dollar sales declined, as did unit sales, down from 709 units First Quarter 2007 to 506 units sold First Quarter 2008, however, home prices had grown dramatically since First Quarter 2002 when the median price of East End homes was $399,000 to a peak of $690,000 in 2007.

The brighter outlook is in the vacant land category, where Simpson reports, "Residential Vacant Land has experienced a large increase in median price, but a decrease in dollar sales. Median price is up 78.4 percent to $735,000 per parcel of vacant land over First Quarter 2007. Of the five East End towns, Shelter Island showed the highest increase in Median Price of Single Family Homes - up from $1 million to $1.3 million from First Quarter 2007 to First Quarter 2008, but total dollar sales on Shelter Island dropped 60 percent from 2007 First Quarter to 2007 First Quarter."

He continues, "Dollar sales have slumped on the East End (a drop of 20 percent for single family home First Quarter sales, 2008 vs. 2007). Unit sales have experienced a steady decline for the last four years from 1,073 homes sold in First Quarter 2004 to only 506 homes sold in the First Quarter of 2008."

Simpson conjectures, though not necessarily the case, an estimate of "approximately 2,000 licensed real estate agents on the East End of Long Island. Using these numbers of unit sales, the average agent sells one house a year."

Yeah, right, George! But like most things in life, my memories of real estate showed that a few sell the most and Darwin's survival of the fittest and/or the luckiest is operative.

A thoughtful industry voice came to us from the Montauk/Amagansett office of The Corcoran Group - writes John Taylor, "I enjoy reading your column every week. I particularly enjoyed this week's - I think the more we have the less we appreciate. If you ever need help out in Montauk let me know."

Well thank you John, a new voice heard from. I love to end with something good because East End real estate is a very strange business.

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