Hamptons home prices sag as luxury buyers head to hipper Hudson Valley

February 14, 2017

The megawatt real estate of the Hamptons may be suffering from shrinkage as a new generation of glitterati increasingly chooses the rustic charm of upstate New York instead. Business Insider reports a surge in the popularity of second homes and tourist activity in Hudson Valley and Catskills towns—and a corresponding dip in Hamptons home prices—in 2016.

Christie Brinkley, Sag Harbor, 1 Fahys Road, douglas elliman
Christie Brinkley’s dreamy Sag Harbor vacation home is on the market for $25 million; Photo by Jake Rajs, courtesy of Douglas Elliman.

The Hamptons on Long Island’s East End have long been known for their steady stream of New York City’s wealthiest and most high-profile vacationers. And though the area’s hamlets and beaches remain a haven for stars of screen and Street and a few of the remaining Upper Crust, the rising appeal of more reasonably-priced destinations is drawing tourists as well as second-home buyers to the area broadly defined by as reaching north from New York City along the Hudson River as far as Albany.

While the Hamptons will likely continue to attract a certain wealthy buyer, says Business Insider, last year was hard on the area’s luxury market. According to real estate company Brown Harris Stevens, average home prices in the Hamptons were down 23.1 percent from the previous year in the fourth quarter. At the luxury end, median sales price fell 29.5 percent according to the real-estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel, though inventory increased 21 percent in the same period. Industry buffs are blaming everything from smaller Wall Street bonuses to the presidential election.

This off-grid cabin in the middle of the Catskills is available via Airbnb. (top) This Historic upstate property with 15 acres sells itself as a $915K getaway for New Yorkers; image courtesy of Village Green Realty. (bottom)

In the same time period, the popularity of the Hudson Valley, also a relatively close-commute getaway from NYC with Metro-North and Amtrak trains offering easy access, has seen an unmistakable rise. Divided into lower, mid, and upper regions, the Hudson Valley is loved for its quirky, charming towns, un-flashy old-money estates of Roosevelts and Astors, and proximity to the hills, rivers and lakes of the Catskill Mountains.

According to local real estate pros, though median prices remained steady at around $1 million, the area’s luxury market saw a significant uptick toward the end of 2016 and a rapid increase in the rate at which properties changed hands during that time. The personality-packed upstate towns have been booming as a getaway for grown-up hipsters—often with families—turned off as much by the shallow Hamptons party scene and paid-for exclusivity as the prohibitive home prices. And as is usually the case, entrepreneurs and finance folks have begun to follow.

Kingston, NY. Image via Village Green Realty

Communities like Snedens Landing on the west side of the Hudson River have long attracted creative types and quirky celebs like Bill Murray and Al Pacino. Younger vacationers are heading north, too, as a new generation of travelers seek adventure and experience over luxury bragging rights. The range of activities available in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills run the gamut of hiking in the Mohonk Preserve, wandering the art galleries of Kingston, and dining at the countless farm-to-table options in the towns of Hudson and Rhinebeck. According to vacation-rental site HomeAway, searches of rental properties in the Hudson Valley by New Yorkers increased 121 percent between 2015 and 2016, while searches in the Hamptons increased just 35 percent in the same period—though the Hamptons are still more popular on the site overall.

Foursquare also found in a study of younger travelers that New York-based travelers between 20 and 24 “increased their trips to the Hudson Valley and Catskills by nearly 55% in the summer of 2016 compared to the same time in 2012. During that same period, this same group decreased excursions to the Hamptons by nearly 46%.”

[Via Business Insider]


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  1. S

    Just moved away from Ulster County to PA. So missing the Hudson Valley. No place like it.

  2. J

    Check out Westport NY on Lake Champlain and nearby Elizabethtown, both in the Adirondack Park and connected by Amtrak and I87. Near Lake Placid, quaint, hip and affordable with a 150 year old arts legacy.