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Home » Post-Covid in the Hamptons: How the Pandemic Changed the East End

Post-Covid in the Hamptons: How the Pandemic Changed the East End

For decades, the Hamptons has been known as a premier summer getaway, particularly for wealthy New Yorkers who would escape the city for their East End summer homes. But the Covid-19 pandemic upended many of the social and economic dynamics of the Hamptons, changing the way that people think about this once-exclusive community. To be clear, the Hamptons is still a favorite retreat for the wealthy, home to many celebrities and prominent figures. But following the pandemic, it has become a more diverse destination for people of different economic backgrounds who want to experience the area’s pristine beaches, quaint communities and cultural activity. At Jackrabbit Limo, we witnessed this shift first-hand, giving us unique insight into how the pandemic reshaped the dynamic here.

A seismic economic shift

New York was hit hard by the pandemic. By April 2020, more than 10,000 people were being hospitalized every day – the majority of them in the city. As offices emptied and businesses closed, many New Yorkers began to re-evaluate their situation. New Yorkers who typically only visited the Hamptons during the summer continued to stay year-round. And, since prices were relatively cheap during the off-season, some people even commuted daily to the city using a Hamptons car service multiple times a week. At the same time, the Federal Reserve dropped interest rates to record lows in an attempt to spur economic activity. This had a direct impact on mortgage rates, which plummeted to 2.66% in December 2020. This sparked a real estate boom, especially in Long Island, where homes continued to sell at a blistering pace in 2021 and 2022, even as other areas of the country cooled down.

A changing mindset

While the economic conditions fueled the initial real estate boom, New Yorkers were also changing their perspective about Long Island in general. City residents who previously preferred to live within the five boroughs were suddenly finding Long Island to be more desirable for its lower cost of living and overall better quality of life. Younger and more diverse groups moved to the island, including communities in the Hamptons and the North Fork. According to the New York Times, “From April 2010 to April 2021, the population of the town of East Hampton, which includes the hamlet of Montauk, climbed from 21,457 to 28,385, a 32 percent increase. In Southampton, the population rose about 22 percent, from 56,790 to 69,036, in the same time frame.”

What it means for the Hamptons

In the words of Vanity Fair, this shift has “upended the social Hamptons social order.” The Hamptons has become a year-round home and destination for not only the wealthy, but also families of different socioeconomic backgrounds. Wealthier families that traditionally departed after Labor Day now send their kids to school in the Hamptons and take part in year-round social events. Year-round locals, some of which previously catered to the wealthy during the summer, now represent a larger and more diverse portion of the population here. Ultimately, this dynamic has helped the Hamptons to thrive. It has created a broader appeal to city dwellers and others who previously viewed the Hamptons as “too exclusive.” It has spurred new business and enticed more business owners to stay open year-round. It has also led to the construction of several new healthcare facilities, including N.Y.U. Langone Health’s new care facility in Bridgehampton. While all of this was initially caused by the negative impact of the pandemic, it’s a welcome change that continues to make the Hamptons a premier destination for all.

Traveling to/from the Hamptons?

Jackrabbit Limo is a leading Hamptons car service and limousine company, serving all of the Hamptons, Long Island, all of NYC and the tri-state area, including all local airports. Reserve your car today by calling 631-600-7700 24/7 or. request a quote online

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