A cloud of gloom has pervaded thethick Hamptons hedgerows. During the first quarter, the number of leases signed and the dollar volume of sales shrank to half of the levels from the similar period last year, said Rick Hoffman, the regional senior vice president for the Corcoran Group.Prospective tenants who might have felt pressure to snag a house by Presidents’ Day are starting their search later, figuring that rents will drop as the summer approaches, agents say. Clients who used to lease a house from Memorial Day to Labor Day are now settling for a month, or — in a phenomenon rarely seen before in the Hamptons — even a week or two.“In the 20 years I’ve been doing this, this is the weakest rental market I’ve seen,” said Jan Robinson, the owner of Hampton Homes, a local brokerage. Ms. Robinson said her rental business was down by 70 percent from last year.
By Terry Pristin, April 10, 2009, WSJ