Workers continue to get pricing from Hamptons

For decades, residents and seasonal visitors of the Hamptons and other towns on the east end of Long Island have prepared to spend their summer mornings and evenings in the “trade parade,” The throngs of contractors, hospital workers and other workers who commute to work on the East Side each day.

With prices out of the area, many workers have long lived in less expensive parts of the island, such as Manorville and Mastic-Shirley, and are forced to commute hours each day.

But business owners warned that march numbers were dwindling. Fewer workers are willing to endure wall-to-wall traffic for low-wage jobs, exacerbating the long-term dilemma that the workers who keep North and South Forks running can’t afford to live there.

“I don’t use the word crisis lightly, but it was at that time,” said state MP Fred Tiller Jr., whose riding includes Southampton. He said a staff member was forced out of her Sag Harbor rented house when the landlord sold it to take advantage of soaring home prices, part of a wave of sales that turned the long-term rental home into a Became a seasonal vacation home. He said the staff member moved in with her boyfriend, “but for a lot of people in that situation, they had no choice.”

Complaints about affordability aren’t new, but the pandemic has brought scares and a change of pace for summer. Many restaurants are now closed one or two days a week, and even in the summer, there are not enough staff working inside, business owners say. “Who is going to drive from Shirley and sit in traffic cleaning a hotel room?” said Jay Schneiderman, Southampton town supervisor and owner of a hotel in Montauk.

Residents again discussed proposed solutions, including where to build high-density housing developments and how best to use funds earmarked for affordable housing measures.

There are some affordable places in the Hamptons like The Springs, a wooded community along Three Mile Harbor Road in East Hampton, but a frantic influx of suburbs during the pandemic has made it unaffordable for low-income people. price.

Even a realtor earning an average of $100,000 a year can’t afford this market, Ben Dixon said. Douglas Elliman Salesperson In New York City and the Hamptons.

The average sales price in South Fork, which includes the towns of East Hampton and Southampton, was $3.222 million in the first quarter of 2023, up 73% from $1.86 million in 2019, according to Corcoran.

In North Fork, which includes the town of Southold and Shelter Island, the average price in the first quarter of 2023 was $1.188 million, a 64% increase from $723,000 in 2019.

These towns offer some subsidized rental and sale units, including 344 in Southampton and 818 in East Hampton. Waitlists for applicants far exceed demand: as of last month, there were 1,334 applicants in Southampton and 3,107 in East Hampton.

In November, four towns in the North and South Forks — Southampton, East Hampton, Southold and Shelter Island — passed a 0.5% property transfer tax to create a community housing fund. The tax applies to all property sales, with the first $400,000 exempt for properties sold for less than $2 million. Mr Thiele’s office expects the new tax to raise $25 million in 2024, its first full year of implementation, and $600 million when it is renewed in 2050.

Local governments can use the fund for initiatives such as down payment assistance for homebuyers, public and private construction projects and Construction of accessory dwelling units on existing residential properties. If the community housing fund raised $10 million a year, that would equate to 66 new units a year, Mr. Schneiderman said.

residents questioned Affordable housing; they felt that preserving the Hamptons’ lush surroundings was also a priority, said Bob DeLuca, president of the Land Conservancy. Eastern Group.

“You should care about what’s going on in your backyard. Why shouldn’t you?” he said.

Land in the Hamptons is protected by the Peconic Bay Tax, a real estate transfer tax enacted in 1998 that has raised more than $1 billion for the Community Preservation Fund since 2000.

It was so successful that almost no land was left to develop it. About 68 percent of Montauk is protected, said Scott Wilson, director of land acquisition and management for the Town of East Hampton.

While officials deal with policy and politics, local business owners are deciding where their employees will live during this time.

Jesse Matsuoka, 37, co-owns four restaurants, including Sag Harbor’s Sen and K Pasa, and now has six “staff quarters”: Single- and multi-family homes in Sag Harbor, Sen’s three upstairs apartments, his parents’ guest room and a spare room in his own house.

His wife, Jessica Matsuoka, works part-time as property manager.

Still, Mr. Matsuoka needs to house more than 100 seasonal employees and is unsure whether his restaurants will be able to operate at full capacity this summer.

“They’re trying to sell this lifestyle to other people living here, but they’ve squeezed out the working class, so how are businesses supposed to work?” he asked.

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