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Market Musings: Good Times Owed to Goldman, Government

The Wall Street Journal reminds us today that the Hamptons real estate market is still alive and kicking, just a little more softly than it used to. In an article shaped around the idea that things are slowly selling - but selling! - we learn that sales were up in August (156 versus July's 62) thanks in part to the optimism about Wall Street bonuses, and Goldman Sachs's profitable last quarter. Some brokers expect the winter to be painfully quiet again, but that doesn't mean that spring won't get better. News that a Sag Harbor waterfront home (above) quickly sold for more than its initial $4.35 million asking price is encouraging, as is word that Joe Farrell lost a bidding war on a $3.15 million plot of land near the beach in Bridgehampton.

As always, finding buyers for the oceanfront mammoths on the market is quite difficult, but brokers are beginning to look at the government's recent success. The Feds and their unwavering prices have successfully sold James Nicholson's $25.9 million Meadow Lane manse, and, of course, Bernie Madoff's $8.75 million Montauk home. Aside from government sales, lower prices overall are bringing in new, non-Wall Street buyers who recently believed they would be priced out of the market. Pricechopping, something many Hamptons homes are privy to, has sold many a property in Montauk, including baked-goods emperor Charles Entenmann's home which went for $2.2 million in July, $2 million less than the initial asking price.
· Hamptons Shows Signs of Life [WSJ]