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One for the books

Hamptons home prices smash previous records

By Julie Strickland

Barry Rosenstein and his $147 million East Hampton spread

Barry Rosenstein and his $147 million East Hampton spread

It’s been a record-breaking year for home sales in Long Island’s bastion of billionaires. The priciest deal of the past 12 months didn’t just shatter the Hamptons’ own lofty records, it was the most expensive sale of a residential property in the entire country.

In May, news broke that Barry Rosenstein, founder of hedge fund Jana Partners, paid $147 million for an 18-acre beachfront spread at 60 Further Lane in East Hampton. The property hit the block after the owner, architect Andrew Gordon, died last year, according to the New York Post. Gordon himself had been left the property by his late partner Christopher Browne of the investment firm Tweedy, Browne Company.

Few details are known about the house itself because Rosenstein’s purchase transpired in an off-market deal, but the previous owners reportedly spent years building elaborate gardens over the property’s three adjacent lots and constructing a new seaside mansion.

The second priciest sale came from hedge-funder Scott Bommer, who went into contract on the purchase of three oceanfront parcels in East Hampton on Lily Pond Lane for $93.9 million in late March. In a strange twist, Bommer was also the buyer of the third priciest deal of the year: the $75 million purchase of 16 Gin Lane in Southampton, which he bought from shoe mogul Vince Camuto.

The Camuto house went into contract in August for $27 million over the initial ask of $48 million. The nine-bedroom, 10,000-square-foot Tudor–style mansion is set on 5.5 acres. In addition to the standard luxury amenities — swimming pools, pool houses and tennis courts — the house also has formal gardens and a gazebo greenhouse. (A portion of this estate, listed for $69 million, is now in contract; two additional two-acre parcels, listed for $15 million each, are also in contract.)

Even the sixth-ranked sale, a $31.6 million deal at 19 Robertson Drive in Sag Harbor, far exceeded the priciest deals of 2012. That year, the top-dollar sale was for $28.5 million, for 322 Meadow Lane in Southampton, according to a Town & Country Real Estate report.

“Prices have been going up, multi-million dollar houses are being sold left and right,” said Douglas Elliman’s Margaret Stankevich, who has an $85 million listing for 9.4 acres of unbuilt oceanfront land at 2012 Montauk Highway in Amagansett. “The market is good right now, but there’s not much inventory, so if someone sees something they want, they buy.”

And in the highest echelons of the luxury market, sellers can often afford to be choosy. “When you’re trying to buy from a billionaire, they don’t need the money — it’s only really about a lifestyle change: trading up or down, or sideways,” said Corcoran’s Tim Davis who, along with Peter Huffine, had the listing for 16 Gin Lane.

While an increasing number of international buyers are active in the Hamptons residential market, all roads still lead through Manhattan. And most of those paths stem from hedge-fund heavyweights, according to Paul Brennan, Douglas Elliman’s Hamptons regional manager. “Most of the people all have ties to New York,” he said. “They might be from other countries, but they are based in New York on some level. Rarely do I get a call from Moscow asking me what’s going on in the Hamptons — international buyers go to New York first and then come here.” Still, the international buyers flocking to Long Island’s poshest corner are coming from an increasing array of countries. The Hamptons have become a destination for buyers from all over the world, Davis said. “I would say it’s changed in the last three or four years, the diversity,” he said. “We’ve become a destination for the world. It’s safe, it’s clean, and it’s not like other resort communities around the world.”