While it may still be winter, some realtors say now is the time to start thinking about summer if you're planning on renting a house in the Hamptons. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.
It may be winter, but if you are planning to renting a house in the Hamptons, now is the time to start thinking about summer. It seems the summer rental shopping season is already in full swing.
"Normally, the season starts around now," said Dorothy Somekh, senior vice president of Halstead Property. "It's already started, the beginning of January, and it's already in full swing. There's not a lot left."
Somekh is a broker and an owner. She has two homes that she rents out. She says that after a five-year lull, demand for the Hamptons is back, and inventory is dwindling.
Alison Levin is renter who is surprised how quickly things are moving.
"It's definitely been an aggressive market right now," she says. "I think it's similar to looking for an apartment in New York City. Things go really quickly. We got 10 listings a week ago, and five went over the weekend. You had to move and get the things that you want that are at a good price right away."
Many believe the reason for the mad dash is because renters from the Jersey Shore and Fire Island who may not be able to rent in their usual spots as a result of Hurricane Sandy are making the Hamptons market more competitive.
Somekh thinks there is also not enough supply to meet the demand because there is very little new construction.
"Very similar to New York City, the Hamptons construction slowed down over the last five years, so there's not a lot of new inventory to rent, even," she says. "Therefore, now that the season is in full swing, and everyone is looking, there's less to find."
And she also credits a stronger economy, as more people are willing to spend the money again. But they will be spending more.
"The prices are definitely higher," Levin says. "It seems like it's around 10 percent higher than it was last year. A realtor told us that it's back and higher than it was before '08."
Another trend is that more people are finding that it's more cost effective to rent all year instead of just for the summer. Those year-long rentals have eliminated even more summer-only inventory.
So if you are thinking of renting a home out east this summer, don't bury your head in the sand and wait. Grab your checkbook now and get shopping.