By Arielle Dollinger
May 13, 2022
Born and raised in Southampton, JB Andreassi knows the area’s polarity when it comes to the seasons: summer and not summer.
Mr. Andreassi, 31, is a broker and builder, selling and developing real estate in the Hamptons, known for its resort towns and waterfront homes. He is an agent for Nest Seekers and is part of the cast of “Selling the Hamptons” on Discovery+, and formerly on the Netflix show “Million Dollar Beach House.” Season 2 of “Selling the Hamptons” is scheduled to begin filming in June.
He is also a co-principal in the residential luxury development company Andreassi Development, where he works alongside his brother and their father who is a longtime local developer.
That makes him a local who knows how critical those hot summer days are to the towns’ economy and how real estate ebbs and flows as sure as the tide. He recently spoke about his job, the state of Hamptons real estate and his ties to the area. (This interview was edited for length and clarity.)
Tell me how you got into real estate. Your dad was in the business, right?
I just grew up around it. I grew up being on bulldozers, I grew up swinging a hammer. My dad (Joseph B. Andreassi, Jr.) built the library in Southampton back in the late ‘90s; and SYS (Southampton Youth Services), which is a big, 55,000-square-foot athletic facility. He did a lot for the town, for the local community, and he also built homes.
When you get a little older, you wonder, “Who’s living here? Who’s purchasing this?” And you learn, “Oh, this is a community for some of the most successful people in the world, that are lucky enough or successful enough to come and buy a second or third home out here.” I was always fascinated with that lifestyle, because we did not grow up that way.
Which current trends have you noticed while selling?
I’ve seen pushes to places that were never really considered Hamptons, but maybe are now, or are in that general area. Places like Westhampton Beach and Remsenburg, compared to Sag Harbor, East Hampton, Bridgehampton, Southampton, didn’t get as much love five or so years ago. Now, it’s one of the hottest trading areas out here.
The North Fork isn’t the Hamptons, but it’s very close to the Hamptons. It’s a place that has really beautiful landscapes, the sound to the north, gorgeous wineries; it just hasn’t been developed as much as the Hamptons. I’m seeing people start to really consider living and investing there.
Do you have any sense of why that is happening?
Lack of inventory. It’s simple economics, supply and demand. It’s like we have no properties to sell, we have a lot of buyers, and of the properties that are selling, the pricing is inflated. Sellers are getting really wild numbers because they know they can, the inventory’s razor thin, and there’s still a very large contingent of people who want a piece of the Hamptons.
Are buyers asking you for anything specific lately?
Indoor-outdoor living. And they want everything centralized inside their home, if they’re able to do that. Having an extra office space has become vital in a purchase for most of my clients; same thing with space for a gym, whether it’s a pool house where they can put a Peloton or something similar. Solar paneling is also a big one that has hit over the last three to four years.
Which trends have you noticed in the rental space?
The rental client is often just someone who’s going to buy in like three years, kind of testing it out, seeing if the Hamptons is for them. I’m seeing a lot of people my age who are looking for a full-year rental, and have to pay way too much money for it.
I know it’s not part of the Hamptons’ identity, but I think there should be more buildings that are more affordable, because there are a lot of people looking for housing who have to commute into the Hamptons to work every day.
We call it the trade parade, because it’s a lot of tradesmen that are coming out to help build the homes out there. The line starts at 6 a.m., trying to cross the Shinnecock Canal to get into Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Montauk. But there are so many people, I don’t even know where you’d put them, so it’s almost like you have to commute in. With gas prices over $5 a gallon, I don’t know how sustainable that is for a lot of people who rely on their next paycheck to get by.
How would you describe the Hamptons real estate market?
It used to be a secondary market, and it’s becoming a primary market now. Properties that used to sit on the market for six months to a year are now going within a month. If you’re coming in to buy, you need to be prepared and have conviction. If you find the right thing, you’ve got to pull the trigger.
How does “Selling the Hamptons” compare to “Million Dollar Beach House?”
On “Selling the Hamptons,” we’re showing the pandemic style of really high-paced, highly active buyers, investors. It’s more of us being experienced in what we do, more real estate, more homes. The other thing is, we actually show the Hamptons. We show local places, like the barbershop — the kids who run that barbershop grew up in East Hampton — and Hill Street boxing, founded by a local Southampton kid. I love that we’re bringing exposure to places like Golden Pear cafe, the mom-and-pop shops that make the Hamptons so distinct. That’s something I was really proud of with “Selling the Hamptons” compared to the other show.
Is the show good for business?
A lot of your business doesn’t make TV, and you’ll be doing a scene, it takes four hours; you get back to your phone and the people are like, “JB, where are you, what are you doing?” You say, “Oh, I’m shooting the show,” and they’re like, “That’s great, I’m happy for you, but we’ve got to get this deal done.”
TV thing. But I’ve lost business because of it, because I couldn’t give them the attention they needed. We try to make it work, find the balance. I’m getting better with it, but it’s challenging.
Are there properties available for under $1 million?
They’re hard to find; they’re in certain areas. Springs could be an area where you could find something like that. Hampton Bays, East Quogue. And that’s really it. It’s slim pickings.
What are the most and least expensive houses you’ve sold?
$20 million. It was listed for $20 million, sold for pretty damn close to that. The least expensive was $810,000, sold to a friend, in Springs.