Ron Baron, founder of the investment company bearing his name, didn’t hesitate to pay $103 million for a 40-acre parcel in East Hampton, N.Y. It is the record for a residential property in the U.S. and just a little less than double the annual compensation of some of his neighbors.
House prices in the beach retreat that Steven Spielberg shares with billionaire investor Thomas H. Lee rose 14 percent during the first quarter, even as the national median fell. The Hamptons, former potato farms where seagull cries now mix with the sounds of well-tuned Ferraris, is boosted by salaries on Wall Street, 40 minutes away by helicopter, said Diane Saatchi, a broker at Corcoran Group in East Hampton.
“People have made an incredible amount of money on Wall Street over the last few years,” said Saatchi, who started selling real estate in the Hamptons 19 years ago. “For them, spending millions on a summer home to be near their friends isn’t a big deal.”
Wealthy New Yorkers trade their Manhattan apartments for summertime houses in the dozen hamlets of East Hampton and Southampton to maintain their social standing, said George Simpson, president of Suffolk Research Service Inc., a real estate records company based in Southampton.