In July ZeroHedge reported that the luxury housing market in the Hamptons — bellwether for the digs of the wealthy — had halved. That was on the heels of what they’d called “A Death Knell Just Tolled for Luxury Real Estate” in Manhattan, a dramatic slowdown for NYC ultraluxury castles that the New York Times also attested to. Total sales volume in East Hampton — where people like Jerry Seinfeld and Sean Diddy Combs blow off steam in houses the size of shopping malls — fell 53% from the year before, with prices taking a similar dip. (Note: there’s not a lot of inventory, so extrapolating trends can get tricky.)
ZeroHedge says a “sudden loss of confidence” about the resale market has “frozen” buyers — a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Other factors? A month ago it was the “halt of offshore money laundering, a slowing global economy, the collapse of the petrodollar, and the drastic drop in Wall Street bonuses.” Now add “Fear of Trump. Fear of Clinton” plus China, Brexit. You name it: it’s scaring people. Prices and sales are cratering in Miami and Aspen, too, two other bellwethers for the high end that send shivers through the rest of the economy. In other words for realtors and sellers it’s frigid just now in the Hamptons and its ilk, during the hottest summer on record. A blip or a sign?