Hamptons transactions up, but sales prices fall

Bucking the trend, Bridgehampton sees prices rise 16.4 percent
By Leigh Kamping-Carder | July 13, 2012 06:00PM

The number of Hamptons home sales rose 9 percent in the second quarter of 2012 to 414 transactions, from 379, as the luxury market remained largely flat and median prices fell across the area, according to a report released today by East End brokerage Town & Country Real Estate.

While Judi Desiderio, founder of Town & Country, said she anticipated an increase in transactions, she was expecting a greater year-over-year jump.

Like Desiderio, other Hamptons brokers reported a flurry of sales activity in the late winter and early spring, although views were mixed as to whether that sales push had continued through the summer and into July. (Since market reports usually measure closed deals, they tend to give a more accurate picture of contracts signed several months earlier.)

In the first quarter of 2012, there were 257 sales, according to an earlier Town & Country report.

The second-quarter report shows that median sale price dropped almost 14.4 percent to $900,000, from $1.05 million during the same period last year. Overall, there was almost $746.5 million worth of homes sold in the Hamptons in the second quarter of 2012 — about 1.4 percent less than the value of homes sold during the second quarter of 2011.

The numbers also called into question the conventional wisdom that properties at the high end of the local market — $10-million-plus homes that generally account for less than 2 percent of transactions in the Hamptons — were hot commodities. There were eight sales above $10 million in the second quarter of 2012, the same number as a year ago. In the first half of the year, there were 13 sales above $10 million, or two more than in the same period the year before, Desiderio said.

“It’s not flying one bit,” she said, adding, “It doesn’t seem like one dominant market is prevailing.”

Within individual communities, the biggest price drop appeared in Sag Harbor Village, where the median sales price declined almost 49 percent year-over-year, to $710,000, from $1.38 million, the report says.

If there was one stand-out segment of the market, it was Bridgehampton, where the median price climbed more than 16.4 percent year-over-year, to almost $2.5 million, from $2.1 million, according to the report. There were 62 transactions in the area, which includes Water Mill and Sagaponack, up 5 percent from the prior year quarter.

“Bridgehampton was the starlet, hands down,” Desiderio said. “It outperformed every other market.”

Desiderio attributed the jump to the recovery of Sagaponack, which experienced a steeper crash during the recession but then bounced back.