Rebuilding the Hamptons, one expensive teardown at a time

Here is a clear example of American’s preference for new homes over older ones: buying a new home in the Hamptons is much preferred to having an older home.

From Westhampton to Montauk, buyers (and renters, too, especially those willing to write a six-figure check for a summer spot) are on the same attitudinal and aspirational wavelength: new is better, more sustainable, and infinitely richer in amenities than old…

The look of the homes is evolving as well: modern is making a comeback, but modern in the guise of barnlike. “The modern barn is the Hamptons equivalent of the TriBeCa loft,” Ms. Comnas said…

Sure, many of these new houses have classic cedar shingles on the outside, but inside they are chic tabernacles of all that is design-forward, indulgent and technologically precocious. The middlebrow bungalows, Capes and ranches of yesteryear are disappearing, victims of the wrecking ball, fast becoming the most popular tool in the builders’ kit. ”Unless a house has really good bones or is grandfathered closer to the ocean than you’re allowed to build today,” Mr. Davis said, “there’s often very little reason to renovate.”…

“I’m seeing that people prefer new because they want to be the first to use everything in a home,” he continued. “New means instant gratification.”

Sounds like a lot of money is waiting to be spent at the Hamptons. I’ve seen numerous articles from the last few decades about people trying to hold on to older homes in this area but the teardowns appear to be relentless. I’ve never quite seen a footnote like the one posted at the end of this story:

Not every buyer chooses immaculate new construction. The recent sale for $75 million of the 84-year-old Wooldon Manor in coveted Southampton Village set a Hamptons record as the highest for a stand-alone home on a single lot.

Is the purpose of the footnote to reassure that at least one buyer has some sense of history? (And it only took a $75 million home to have some sense!)

More broadly, do teardowns cease to be a public issue when all or most of the homes are teardowns? Plus, are these not really McMansions because they are not mass-produced and require so much money? It makes me wonder if the truly wealthy get a pass on such homes while those who are more middle- or upper-middle class bear a lot of the criticism for trying to imitate the truly wealthy…

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