What slowdown? Average sales price reaches 11-year high in the Hamptons

Q4 report shows 15% rise year-over-year to $2.3M
By Kathryn Brenzel | January 28, 2016 08:30AM

The luxury market may be going soft in Manhattan, but high-end property sales in the Hamptons hit an 11-year high at the end of 2015.

The average sales price of homes in the Hamptons reached $2.3 million in the final quarter of 2015, a 15.6 percent year-over-year increase, according to a sales report released by Douglas Elliman on Thursday.

The record runs counter to the narrative playing out in Manhattan, where experts have warned of a potential winding down in the demand for uber luxury properties.

“With all the discussion about the top of the market in the city softening or slowing or cooling, the Hamptons this quarter turned out to be contrarian,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel and author of the Elliman report.

The fourth quarter saw the most $5 million-plus sales in a decade and the highest median sales price for luxury properties at $8.3 million, Miller said. The median sales price for the fourth quarter is more modest, rising to $997,000 — a 4.9 percent increase from the last quarter and a 2.3 percent year-over-year increase, according to the report.

The rise in average sales is at least partially attributable to a post-recession pattern in the Hamptons. Miller said that since the housing crisis, there’s been a rush of high-end sales in the fourth quarter of each year. Unfortunately, he said, it’s not really clear why.

“One thing that we’ve seen since the financial crisis, is that at the high end of the market, meaning north of $5 million, we’re seeing a growing shift to more of these high end sales in the last quarter of the year,” he said. “If we look prior to the financial crisis, that pattern doesn’t exist.”

The volume of sales at the end of 2015, however, did fall 16.5 percent to 613 from the same time last year. It increased 20.9 percent from the third quarter. The year-over-year drop, Miller said, is simply a product of unusually high sales activity at the end of 2014 and a drop in inventory.