When Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein bought a home in The Hamptons last December, the listing was quickly removed. The last asking price was $32.5 million, but the final purchase amount was never publicly confirmed.
Fast-forward four months and the trend continues. From Brooke Shields' alleged purchase on Lewis Street to Steven Cohen's new $60 million beachfront estate, quiet moves to The Hamptons are making headlines.
"Oceanfronts are the most popular among the celebrity set," said Dorothy "Dottie" Herman, president and CEO of New York-based Douglas Elliman. "Beachfront homes have a certain cachet that people are hungry for. My brokerage, Douglas Elliman, had several oceanfront sales over $20 million over the past year or so. People are willing to pay top dollar to live on the water, and The Hamptons have the most beautiful beaches in the world."
Matt Lauer and Madonna reportedly have massive equestrian estates in The Hamptons. And for A-listers not quite ready to settle down, the historic Village Latch Inn in Southampton has attracted hotel guests including Al Gore and Anne Hathaway.
Herman says The Hamptons area is the most popular second-home market for New Yorkers, as well as celebrity transplants who have made the area their permanent home and are active in the community.
But why all the discrete sales?
"Celebrities want privacy," Herman said. "Ocean views are a nice bonus, but it's a plus if they can get a private home right on the ocean where they have direct access to the beach without having to deal with parking, crowds or paparazzi."
Herman says we're also seeing a wave of real estate rumors simply because it's a great time to buy in The Hamptons.
"Typically, there are two buying seasons," Herman explained. "Mid-January through Memorial Day is when most Hamptons homes are sold, and then there is a shorter burst of sales in the fall. But really, the best time to buy is right now because the market is on fire."
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