In 1987, I bought a home in The Hamptons, NY. At that time, any home located south of the dividing line, which happened to be Montauk Highway, was considered only for the super wealthy, since the south side was the ocean side. The north side, which was the bay side, was where the locals and laborers lived, since it was considered the ‘poor side of the tracks’. And that’s where our Hamptons home was located: where the working poorers lived. Fast forward 16 years, and most of the land south of The Montauk Highway had been built up. Where did the Rich and Famous feast their greedy eyes upon next? You guessed it: the north side.
It worked out well for me because I was able to sell a home I paid $135,000 for in 1987 at an upper six-digit price point. I made so much money in equity I was able to retire at the age of 50 in 2001. In reality however, I sold because I couldn’t compete with my new super rich neighbors. Their high prices forced all property taxes sky high and eventually I couldn’t afford to live where I was living. To this day, my daughters have not forgiven me for selling their childhood home because they lost easy access to a beach. If they wanted to spend a weekend in The Hamptons now, it would cost them upwards of $1500, from a Friday night to a Sunday morning.
I used my Hampton Home equity to purchase land in upstate New York and custom build a modular home upon it. All for cash. Up where I live now, you’re not judged on the car you drive, the clothes you wear or the jewelry you adorn yourself with. You’re judged on how many acres you own. Since I only own 3.5 acres, I’m considered, yet once again, the poorer folk. Again, fast forward to today, eighteen years later since we all moved to The Hudson Valley, I am again facing the same materialistic, greedy, financial upheaving as I did back in 2001. Almost all of my original neighbors have sold and moved onward on to their own retirement bliss. The last original home across the street from me just posted a ‘For Sale’ sign and with him gone, DH and I are the last original standouts. In the replacements coming to become our new neighbors, each and every one of them are super, super rich. They have taken homes that they purchased for $250,000 and turned them into $800,000 (and rising) multi-million dollar Hamptonish-styled mega homes, complete with pools and security guards. The homes around the corner from us have now all been priced in the millions and severe electronic security gates have been installed. Celebrities, sports stars, movie moguls, Wall Street vampires have moved into our neighborhood by the Mercedes-loads.
With this influx comes the higher property prices AND the higher property taxes to match. Currently our neighborhood has had their property prices re-evaluated and we will get the results in 2020. While maybe it might be nice to rake in another huge influx of cash should we sell, but what if we don’t want to sell? Indirectly, we are being forced out of our home. It’s just a matter of time that no matter how we will qualify for any senior citizen discounts, our days of living here may just be about over.
The rich have destroyed yet another neighborhood due to greed. They’ve destroyed New York City. Because of the high property prices and higher yet rents the rich can pay, they have forced many people out on the streets and have become the new homeless. They’ve decimated The Hamptons and now they have aimed their architects and interior designers upon The Hudson Valley.
One of our new neighbors (whose home sits on 10 acres) had a welcoming party at the end of last summer. I wrote about it (click here) (and no! I was never invited back). At the party, I met another new fellow neighbor who just purchased a home, with a horse barn on its total two acres. He asked me what living up here meant. I told him that I found out the hard way when I first moved up, that you’re not judged by the clothes you wear, the car you drive or the jewelry you adorn yourself with. Your status in the community is judged by how many acres you own. “I only own two acres” he said to me. “I only own 3.5” I replied. “Guess we’re the two brokesters on the block” I finalized the conversation.
Obviously, he thought about what I said and didn’t like it. Next time we met (wife was walking her dog), the wife told hubby and me that they bought the connecting property next to theirs. Without batting an eyelid, my hubby asked the wife “How many acres?” She rolled up her eyes, as if she was counting and then replied: “We bought 57 acres. We bought everything.” And with that, they became the richest people in the ‘neighborhood’. “We bought it because it had a barn on it. We want to fix up the barn and join the local Barn Historical Society and be a part of their annual barn tours.” Sure enough, when we drove by, there was the barn, built back in the 1800’s being revamped and revitalized. They had just received a shipload of new barn wood that hubby estimated to be worth in the tens of thousands of dollars. The new neighbor, being a hot shot, licensed PE (Professional Engineer) from New York City was probably enchanted to have a new hobby that interested him. And a matching bank account.
And with that, the wife yanked in her precious, trendy, double mixed pedigree breed (a pedigree poodle and pedigree labrador that produced the ugliest but super expensive mixed-pedigree dog I have ever seen @$3600) got into her 2019 Maybach Mercedes (The V12-powered S 650 Maybach will cost you around $200,000, plus another $1,700 in gas-guzzler tax) and drove back to the city. “We only come here on the weekends” she boasted. They arrive Friday night, dine out every Saturday night at THEE most expensive restaurants in town and hurry back home to their New Jersey Estate. I asked if she and her husband had any intention of moving here permanently? “Never” was her response. Nice to be rich, isn’t it?
I won’t be inviting any of our new neighbors over for coffee in my home anytime soon. Nor will hubby and I ever be invited again to any other neighborhood get-togethers. It doesn’t take a genius to see that hubby and I no longer belong or fit in to our own neighborhood. We don’t drive a Mercedes. We don’t have an inground pool. We don’t own horses or goats or chickens. We didn’t plant any apple or peach orchards on our property, Our RV is parked right out there in plain sight. Our dog is a rescue mutt. We can’t afford to dine at those chic, super expensive, gourmet exotic local restaurants in town. We don’t have an elaborate gated security system. We don’t have a landscaper. We don’t have a gardener. We don’t have a maid nor employ any help whatsoever.
The earliest we can sell is in two years when hubby qualifies for Social Security and Medicare. The great part is that we will have so much equity built up we can retire a bit richer ourselves, than planned. But we will have been priced out of yet another neighborhood because we couldn’t predict the future. And my daughters and granddaughters probably won’t talk to me for another year or two because I sold our country home and they lost access yet once again to a great area up in the mountains. (The hotels and B&Bs here charge between $275 and $400 a night!)
Here are some photos of the barn my new neighbors plan on re-vitalizing and adding to the town’s historical register. They have cleared out the land surrounding the barn array as well as empty out all the barn structures of debris and decades of garbage. Yay for the community! Yay for them! Nay for me.