The Hamptons are not a happy place these days, Michael Shnayerson writes in a Vanity Fair piece detailing fortunes destroyed, plans dashed, homes selling for bargain basement prices. The stink of the financial crisis in general, and Bernard Madoff especially, has descended on the oceanfront playground of New York’s elite. But there are signs the region is merely down, not out.
Yes, real-estate negotiations tend to start at 25% below the asking price. Yes, many builders are in dire straits. And yes, the homes of Bear Stearns executives, Madoff victims and other suddenly broke ex-titans line the waterfront. But tales of flashy speculators buying homes for 50% below asking price turn out to be urban legends, and some mansions are still being built—often over other, bulldozed properties.