Dream House: This 12-bedroom East Hampton rental property is equipped with a pool house surrounded
by stone courtyards, covered arbors, and idyllic gardens. The price: $650,000 for the summer.
Still looking for a summer rental in New York’s Hamptons? The wise way to approach the rental market on Long Island’s South Fork is, of course, to scout out options in January and secure your dream property early on. But life isn’t always tidy, and sometimes last-minute scrambling is a necessity.
The good news is that the late onset of spring delayed many rental decisions, so the available inventory is pretty good. But that doesn’t necessarily translate into a bargain when it comes to the manicured lawns, shingled mansions, and oceanfront villas of iconic Hamptons locales such as Southampton, Amagansett, and East Hampton.
The choicest rental properties in those villages cost “anywhere from $750,000 to $1 million for the summer,” says Paul Brennan, a broker at Douglas Elliman Real Estate. According to brokers’ data, there are about 50 rental properties still available in East Hampton and Southampton appropriate to the high-end Hamptons summer experience.
The best offerings we could find: A 12-bedroom East Hampton Cotswold-inspired estate with horse stables, sunken spa, and mature trees, available for $650,000 for the season—which traditionally stretches from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend—and an eight-bedroom Southampton cottage with pool and tennis court, still available at $560,000, where, as the listing says, you can “entertain to the sound of the ocean waves.”
Don’t despair. Chances of bagging a pleasant rental at a more reasonable price improve in the hamlets of Water Mill, Bridgehampton, Sagaponack, and Wainscott. Rentals there range from $50,000 to $750,000 a summer, with anything south of Montauk Highway commanding higher prices.
We found two properties at opposite ends of the spectrum that we thought offered good value for the money: an 1812 Wainscott schoolhouse within walking distance of the beach for $190,000, and a secluded Ocean Road home in Bridgehampton with a gym, theater, and wine room for $475,000.
North of the highway are Sag Harbor, gathered around a harbor dense with yachts and sailboats, and nearby Shelter Island, with its woods and water views. “Sag Harbor is more of a boaters’
community,” says Dana Trotter, a broker at Sotheby’s International Realty, “with rentals that are usually not as expensive.”
Shelter Island, accessible by ferry, “is more of an understated, family-oriented community with quiet money,” notes Douglas Elliman’s Brennan. “You don’t get the overwhelming crowds you do in the Hamptons. It’s much more the way it used to be.”
Hamptons rental prices are determined both by square footage and amenities, which can mean the amount of privacy, the style of the home, and its proximity to golf courses, tennis courts, and the ocean.
“Do you want it to feel like a home or a vacation rental?” Trotter usually asks renters. Beach homes that offer the latest Park Avenue luxuries quickly rise in price.
While summer rentals in the Hamptons are always tight, this year appears to provide marginally more choice than normal. “There is certainly a lot more inventory than there used to be,” says Trotter, largely because the slowdown in sales has many homeowners temporarily renting out homes they want eventually to sell (see “Luxury Second-Home Prices Up 11% in 2015,”Barron’s Penta, March 26)....MORE