Destination of the Year

Montauk’s allure grows for year-round living

THE SCOOP

Montauk earned the nickname “The End” because it is the easternmost point of the Island as well as New York State. Known for its beaches on the Atlantic Ocean and Block Island Sound, saltwater fishing and as a vacation destination, it’s also a great place to raise a family year-round, said William Kuneth, a salesperson with Brown Harris Stevens of the Hamptons, who has lived in the hamlet for 17 years. “Living in Montauk in the ‘off’ season is like heaven on earth,” he said. “Sometimes you go to the beach and you literally have it all to yourself.”

There is a party crowd that comes out for the summer, and local traffic can be challenging, Kuneth said. But he added that Montauk has been transitioning since the early 2000s when it was seen only as a place to enjoy between Memorial Day and Labor Day. “The past 20 years Montauk has transformed from a small summer destination to a year-round place to visit and reside.”

Joseph Van Asco, a salesperson with Douglas Elliman Real Estate, and a Montauk resident and native, said, “Montauk is a beach town where you can walk to town from the beach with no shoes on.”

Its rich history includes Deep Hollow Ranch, the nation’s oldest cattle ranch, in operation since the 1600s; construction of the Montauk Point Lighthouse under George Washington in 1796; the spot where African slaves who seized the Amistad schooner came ashore in 1839; and Camp Hero State Park, once a military base with WWII bunkers and a radar tower.

Today, Montauk offers a variety of restaurants, as well as miniature golf, the Montauk Brewing Company and Montauk Downs Golf course, fishing charters, stellar sunsets and whale sightings.

Coastal erosion is an ongoing challenge, with proposals to replenish the beach consistently discussed. Several recently completed projects include the restoration of the Second House Museum (the oldest structure in Montauk); a two-year, $31 million Army Corps of Engineers project to protect the Montauk lighthouse from erosion; and an addition to Montauk Library.

According to Susan Ceslow of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Montauk has a diverse blend of homes. “There are a lot of interesting and eclectic contemporaries that have been built over the decades and have since seen renovations and additions,” she said, adding that there are also many traditional shingle-style beach homes.

Montauk’s scarcity in home inventory — both for sales and rentals — reflects a nationwide change, Kuneth said. “The pandemic has resulted in people realizing that they want to live their dreams now, not just wish that one day their dreams will come true. As a buyer you must stay very attentive to new inventory and be fully prepared to act when the opportunity presents itself.”

Van Asco said that sales in the area have always been brisk and now it’s hard to find something for under $1 million. “Homebuyers have to be prepared and know what it is going to take to get the house. Making clean, non-contingent offers, with the path of least resistance for a seller, is often the key to getting a house and winning the bid.”

CONDOS AND CO-OPS There is one condo currently on the market, for $200,000, and one co-op, for $479,000.

SALE PRICES Between June 30, 2020 and July 31, 2021 there were 22 home sales with a median sale price of $1.439 million, according to OneKey MLS. The low price for that period was $645,000 and the high was $2.9 million. During that period a year earlier there were 18 home sales with a median sale price of $1.178 million. The price range was $600,000 to $3.55 million.

OTHER STATS

Town East Hampton

Area 17.5 square miles

ZIP code 11954

Population 3,685

Median age 56.8

Median household income $96,389

Median home value $1.5 million*

Monthly LIRR ticket from Montauk $500

School districts Montauk (K-8), East Hampton (H.S.)

Graduation rate 83%

Parks Hither Hills State Park, Montauk Point State Park, Montauk County Park

Library Montauk Library

Hospitals Stony Brook Southampton Hospital

SOURCES: 2019 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates; OneKey MLS; LIRR, data.nysed.gov

*Based on 11 sales in the past six months, according to OneKey MLS

NOW ON THE MARKET

$8.95 million

This new, modern home is in the Presidents’ Row area of Hither Hills and has sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. Its upside-down, open floor plan takes advantage of its private hilltop site. The house has five bedrooms, four of which are en suite, a second common area/den and an infinity edge pool. Taxes are $12,000. Susan Ceslow and Joseph Van Asco, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 631-668-6565.

$1.95 million

Built in 1940, this Hither Hills classic 1,000-square-foot cottage sits 500 feet to deeded ocean beach access. It has five rooms, including one bedroom and two baths and a detached one-car garage on 0.46 acres. It’s being sold “as is.” Taxes are $6,080. William Kuneth, Brown Harris Stevens Hamptons, 631-324-6100.

$479,000

This renovated one-bedroom, one-bath town house in the Port Royal Co-op development has a living room/dining room combo and views of Fort Pond Bay from a private deck. There’s a private beach area, swimming pool, children’s playroom, on-site laundry room, tennis/basketball court and on-site dining. The home is in walking distance to the LIRR. Monthly maintenance is $729. John Varghese, First Flag Realty, Inc., 516-673-4388.

RECENTLY SOLD

$2 million

Address Monroe Dr.

Style Contemporary

Bedrooms 4

Bathrooms 3½

Built 1992

Lot size 0.18 acres

Taxes $6,693

+/- list price -$495,000

Days on market 125

$1.477 million

Address Harrison Rd.

Style Contemporary

Bedrooms 4

Bathrooms 2

Built 1971

Lot size 0.23 acres

Taxes $5,357

+/- list price +$82,777

Days on market 65

$645,000

Address Second House Rd.

Style Cottage

Bedrooms 2

Bathroom 1

Built 1984

Lot size 0.9 acres

Taxes $4,300

+/- list price -$30,000

Days on market 106

ON ONEKEY MLS

Number of listings 9

Price range $200,000 to $24 million

Tax range $2,953 to $34,892