From the Anecdotal Evidence files:
For the past few years on the holiday weekend, I have been watching to see if there are any signs of stabilization in the economy or the real estate markets. My frame of reference are restaurants and homes for sale.
The restaurants seemed reasonably busy, but not crazed. We tend to go to either nice places or local dives. On Saturday night, Starr Boggs was busy, but still had a few empty tables at 8:30 (all the outdoor tables were filled). Stone Creek Inn was fully booked weeks in advance; Canal Cafe is small and always jammed. Some favorites in Sag Harbor and East Hampton were all busy. A new waterfront place (Rumba) opened in a spot that had been empty for a while. Orlando’s was busy, but closed early Saturday at 3 (“it was dead”).
At worst, it seems to be slowing a bit, but not falling off the cliff.
The real difference this year has been residential Real Estate. The homes for sale along our trip to the beach is up substantially from previous years. I counted 25 homes for sale or rent (4), and 2 in contract (its been 14-16 the past few years). Some of the rentals are also for sale. Everywhere else we went this weekend as well as Memorial day weekend, it seems there are simply many, many more Blue and White realtor signs up.
My best guess is that bargain hunters are out in force. Anyone who has been holding off selling as they await better times or higher prices may have finally reached the end of their ropes. Maybe Wall Street has moved on, or are concerned about profits and layoffs.
Regardless, there seems to be a lot of inventory. Yes, there is a random factor to whatever places we happened to go to. But my RE sales count is from precisely the same route to the beach every year. And my wife’s family has had a home out here for 50 years. Harry (who is no longer with us) had a good eye for property, buying back in 1961. The missus says she simply has never seen so many properties for sale.
Trouble in the Hamptons? (May 26, 2008)
Quiet in the Hamptons (May 31st, 2009)
Busy Weekend in the Hamptons (August 16th, 2009)
Vacation in the Hamptons (July 8th, 2010)