Hamptons cool down: Sales volume drops, while suburbs thrive

After a banner year, the South Fork is leveling off

TRD New York /
Jul.July 21, 2016 08:00 AM

After nearly three years of record-setting sales, the market is settling down in the Hamptons.

For the fourth consecutive quarter, the Hamptons saw a double-digit, year-over-year drop in sales volume, falling to 561 in the second quarter of 2016, according to Douglas Elliman’s TRData LogoTINY latest market report. This represents a 20.6 percent decrease from the second quarter of 2015, which saw 706 sales. Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel and author of the Elliman report, noted that the fall in sales followed an unusual period — 2013 through part of 2015 — of high global demand for luxury properties. Sales on the whole this quarter were 25 percent higher than the decade average, but the drop shows that like Manhattan, the market in the Hamptons is “soft at top,” he said.

The current uncertainty of global markets — Britain and China, to name a few — and that of the upcoming presidential election have curbed appetites, he said.

“That pent-up demand has been satiated,” Miller said. “Uncertainty is part of the theme in the high-end of the market, and those consumers are holding off”

Still, median sales price hit $975,000, a 4.3 percent increase from the same time last year and the highest second quarter price seen in the last nine years, according to the report. Ernest Cervi, regional vice president of the East End for the Corcoran Group, noted that 2015 was a record year for the Hamptons and that this past quarter’s drop was fairly slight. Prices hit an 11-year high at the end of last year, with the average sales price reaching $2.3 million.

Long Island on the whole continued its upward climb with 6,324 sales, the highest number seen in a second quarter in the past decade and a 20.8 percent increase from the same time last year, according to a separate Elliman report. The median sales price in Long Island has increased for 13 consecutive quarters, reaching $382,500 in the second quarter of 2016. The North Fork experienced a similar quarter, seeing the most second quarter sales — 179 — since 2008. The median sales price was $535,000, a 2.9 percent year-over-year jump.

“So much attention after Lehman was on the city, the suburbs were considered an afterthought,” Miller said. “Now consumers are being priced out of the city, and the suburbs are benefiting.”

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