Halstead Property to re-enter Hamptons market

Crain's New York Business

By Amanda Fung
Oct. 4, 2011

Halstead Property to re-enter Hamptons market

The brokerage's expansion outside NYC continues with its acquisition of East Hampton firm David McNiff. It's a return to the sandbox for Halstead, which had left the East End market in the early 2000s.

Residential brokerage Halstead Property is returning to the Hamptons market with the acquisition of a 40-year-old shop based in East Hampton.

Halstead Property, owned by Terra Holdings, announced Monday that it bought David McNiff, a 25-agent brokerage specializing in residential sales and rentals in the famed summer playground for the rich. The firm will be renamed David McNiff Halstead Property and will continue to be run by Stuart and Lynn Epstein, who took over the brokerage more than 20 years ago. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We're always on the lookout for ways that will enhance our business,” said Diane Ramirez, president of Halstead Property, noting that the brokerage has been eyeing the Hamptons market for the past few years. “David McNiff is a right fit, our cultures are similar, and we are thrilled.”

This is not Halstead Property's first foray into the Hamptons. In the mid-1990s, Halstead merged with E.T. Dayton to create Dayton Halstead. The brokerage, which pioneered many practices on the once-sleepy East End, including hiring an ad agency and public relations firm, was eventually sold in the early-2000s to the Corcoran Group.

Halstead Property will find stiff competition in the Hamptons, including bigger firms like the Corcoran Group, Prudential Douglas Elliman and Town & Country Real Estate, as well as newer firms like Saunders & Associates, which opened its doors more than two years ago. Earlier this year, Manhattan-based Nest Seekers International entered the market with the acquisition of Southampton's Engel & Volkers.

“We will be a formidable competitor,” said Ms. Ramirez, adding that Halstead Property has the technology and tools, such as virtual staging, that brokers in the Hamptons market have not used in the past.

“We have always admired their innovative marketing strategies and technology,” Mr. Epstein, named managing director of East Hampton at the newly created Devlin McNiff Halstead, said in a statement. “They have resources that will further complement our style of business and allow us to enhance our market presence in the area.”

Halstead Property has been on an expansion tear in recent years. The brokerage bought small Riverdale, Bronx, firm Susan Goldy Real Estate Inc. earlier this year. And it grew in the Connecticut market last year by acquiring boutique Wheeler Real Estate, a deal that followed its 2009 absorption of Country Living Associates in Fairfield County.