The Real Deal New York

Hamptons home sales ho-hum in second quarter

Area seeing increase in condominium buys for the first time, Elliman's Dottie Herman says
By Claire Moses | July 24, 2014 12:01AM

The second quarter of the year saw a modest increase in property deals in the Hamptons and the North Fork, according to Douglas Elliman’s second quarter Hamptons and North Fork sales report.

“You’re seeing growth,” said Elliman President and CEO Dottie Herman. “Normal, healthy growth. Nothing over the top.”

On the North Fork, more action took place at the higher end of the market. The median price in the North Fork came in at $477,5000, a 3.9 percent increase from the second quarter of 2013. The average price went up 4.1 percent to $707,658.

In the Hamptons, the median price dropped 1.3 percent from 2Q in 2013, to $908,500. The average price fell to $1.5 million, a near 10 percent plunge compared to the same time period last year. Still, Jonathan Miller, who authored Elliman’s report, said the market is “edging higher,” mostly due to the uptick in sales activity. The number of sales in the Hamptons jumped 3.7 percent to 700. The total number of sales in the North Fork dropped 3.8 percent to 154 in the second quarter.

“Sales activity is one of the best barometers for the health of the housing market,” Miller said. “Much better than price.”

The activity on the lower end of the market is due to the influx of new buyers as well as the ongoing economic recovery. “You have first time buyers out east moving into the market more than they were a year ago,” Miller said.

Herman, who owns a house in the Hamptons herself, said that for the first time she is also seeing an increase in condominiums. Buyers used to want to buy big pieces of land, she said. Nowadays, condos are popping up more and more.

Corcoran, too, released its Hamptons report on Tuesday and concluded a slight decrease in market-wide average (down 4 percent) and median price (down 3 percent). Some places saw larger drops. The Village of East Hampton still saw the quarter’s highest median sales price with $2.6 million, but that was a 23 percent compared to the same time last year.

Ernest Cervi, the executive managing director at Corcoran Real Estate Services called the market “consistent.”

On the South Fork, Cervi said, “there is a lot of new inventory. Builders and investors are buying the land.” That new construction attracts a lot of new people to the area, he said. “People gravitate toward new construction. That’s another healthy sign that shows confidence in the future of the market.”