Why are Hamptons elite decamping for trailer parks? Extra money

Ilyce R. Glink

Some Hamptons residents are ditching their million-dollar homes to spend the summer in trailer parks—and they’re making big bucks doing it. (Click here or on a photo to see more pictures of the Hamptons' Ditch Plains Trailer Park.)

Savvy Hamptonites rent out their main homes to vacationers willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars (or more) to spend the summer in the small, sought-after hamlets dotting the coastline of Southampton and East Hampton.

Meanwhile, the Hamptons owners pack up their families for a couple of months and head to their humbler properties in small trailer park communities in Montauk or elsewhere, while they rake in the rent at their luxury homes.

Of course, the Hamptons-area trailer parks aren't exactly a painful sacrifice. These are oceanfront, sometimes six-figure homes about the size of a Manhattan apartment, with access to pools, playgrounds, pristine beaches and a clubhouse.

Real estate agent Danielle Becker-Wilson and her family temporarily ditched their million-dollar home in East Hampton for a trailer they bought for $60,000 at the Montauk Shores Condominiums, also known as the Ditch Plains Trailer Park. (Click here or on a photo to see more pictures of the Hamptons' Ditch Plains Trailer Park.)

She calls the experience "glamping," or glamour camping, in a New York Post interview.

In two months at Ditch Plains, she can make $50,000 in rent on her primary house. Ditch Plains costs $1,400 a month in maintenance; trailer purchase price varies, but resident Nate Shaw is currently selling his for $110,000.

Or, as the Post succinctly puts it: "$50,000 RENTAL INCOME - $16,800 TRAILER SPACE = $33,200 PROFIT," not counting the initial trailer purchase. Every year.

Overall, quite the profitable plan.

And she’s not alone. Other families in the Ditch Plains community are taking advantage of their unique situation. A pair of teachers told the Post they were renting their $1.2 million home for $30,000 for the two months.

Shaw, who owns a trailer with his wife in Ditch Plains, said that the idea has been trending in the area.

“There are a few people doing that,” Shaw said. “We’re in the process of selling (our trailer) and we’ve noticed other families that are selling sold to exactly that type of family.”

Shaw’s trailer isn't as expensive as some of the larger trailers in the community, which can run $500,000 to nearly $1 million.

His comes with two bedrooms, one bathroom, full kitchen, a washer and dryer as well as a large deck, storage shed and vegetable garden.

Most of the residents in the 200-unit community spend their summers there and live elsewhere during the rest of the year. They come for the oceanfront views, beach access and the tight-knit community, Shaw said. (Click here or on a photo to see more pictures of the Hamptons' Ditch Plains Trailer Park.)

As for Becker-Wilson, she came for the pool. She and her husband plan to add a pool to their primary residence with the money they earned renting out their home.

That pool will let them jack up their rental rate next year when they do it all again.

Ilyce Glink is an award-winning, nationally syndicated real estate columnist, blogger and radio talk show host, and managing editor of the Equifax Finance Blog. Follow her on Twitter @Glink.