Insane housing prices, private clubs and Zimmerman gowns? The Hudson Valley is starting to look a lot more like the Hamptons.
Accelerated by the pandemic and the new realities of hybrid work, a fresh crop of buyers — and new luxury developments catering to them — are flocking to the region, attracted by its unique blend of countryside escape with culturally rich downtown centers.
Sales prices in Ulster County — home to popular Hudson Valley destinations like Kingston, Woodstock and Stone Ridge — have risen to 24% in 2021, the highest increase of any county in the state, according to data from Corcoran Country Living.
Even still, the current average sales price of $461,000 is a far cry from the Hamptons’ $3.17 million.
But increasingly, flashy East End-esque amenities are luring city slickers. There’s Inness, a hotel and member’s club with a golf course spanning 220 acres near Stone Ridge. There’s also Troutbeck in Amenia and Piaule Catskill, both upping the ante for stylish, thoughtfully designed hotels.
The über-luxury housing community Silo Ridge Field Club opened in 2017, with perks ranging from equestrian sports to on-demand frozen margaritas. Projects by luxury stalwarts Auberge and Soho House are forthcoming.
“[The Hudson Valley] is the kind of place where you can go vintage shopping, visit a gallery, have a nice dinner and go hiking — all in the same day. That’s what feeds my soul,” said Hillary Kaplan, 53, who began exploring the Hudson Valley with her family from their home in Westfield, New Jersey, during the pandemic. “I immediately felt like these were our people.”
When Kaplan and her husband decided they were ready to buy a second home in the area, they landed at a new development in Stone Ridge spanning 44 acres with eight custom homes by NevelHaus, a turnkey homebuilding platform founded in 2020 by New York City-based developers Joshua Gelb and Pelle Hamburger.
In partnership with INC Architecture & Design, the firm behind notable projects like 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge and the TWA Hotel at JFK, NevelHaus drew inspiration from the early American farmhouse to create their high-design, fully customizable three-bedroom, 2½-bath homes, priced from $1.62 million.
With a steep pitched roof, cypress wood siding and three walls of windows, NevelHaus cuts a sleek silhouette against the natural wooded landscape. Inside, 30-foot vaulted ceilings and 925 square feet of entertainment space are finished in sustainably sourced materials, like wide-plank European white-oak flooring and custom cabinetry.
Kaplan, who owns the interior design firm Mimi & Hill, enjoyed the collaborative process of customizing her home on her 3½-acre lot.
She also chose to upgrade her property with a basement with a bunkroom, a garage (with an additional bedroom) and a pool from the menu of add-ons, also designed by NevelHaus.
“We saw an opportunity to create a product that was frictionless,” said Gelb, who set out to fill a void in the market for luxurious modern homes with NevelHaus.
He found the choice for buyers was typically between renovating a 200-year-old property or hiring an architect to build a home from scratch. By introducing a turnkey, customizable solution, he’s also solving for supply chain issues. NevelHaus’ projected timeline from purchase to move-in is eight to 10 months.
The demand for luxury products in the area has skyrocketed. In 2021, 83 homes in Ulster County closed above $1 million (16 of which were north of $2 million), compared to only 17 in 2017, according to Corcoran Country Living.
Essentially, “The $2 million sale has become the new $1 million sale,” said Jason Karadus, principal of the Hudson Valley-based brokerage, who is handling NevelHaus sales locally, along with Ryan Serhant’s eponymous New York City agency, marking the “Million Dollar Listing” reality star’s first foray into the Hudson Valley.
And while activity has slowed slightly in response to rising interest rates, Serhant maintains, “The market is strong and well-priced. The Hudson Valley is still undervalued. It’s yet to be tapped.”
Mindy Grossman’s love affair with the Hudson Valley began nearly 25 years ago when the former Weight Watchers CEO and fashion industry vet purchased an 18th-century colonial home in Millbrook, New York, with her husband Neil.
Today, her estate spans 60 acres with four structures, 10 bedrooms, their private winery Elysabeth Vineyards and a short par-3 golf hole.
“After a short drive from the city, you’re lost in the woods with complete serenity,” said Serhant. “It makes you want to write poetry.”