Heatwave in the Hamptons: Q2 home sales almost double since winter slump

But prices in the upper end of the market dip slightly

Luxury sales prices in the Hamptons and North Fork (credit: Corcoran Group)
Luxury sales prices in the Hamptons and North Fork (credit: Corcoran Group)

The Hamptons, like the weather, is experiencing a heat wave. The number of home sales, as well as prices, rebounded with vigor in the second quarter after a lackluster start to the year, reports released today by the area’s largest residential brokerages show. 

There were 675 sales closed in the Hamptons in the second quarter, a 25.5 percent year-over-year increase from 539 sales and a 94.5 percent increase from just 347 sales in the first quarter of this year, Douglas Elliman’s quarterly report shows.

This is the highest number of second quarter sales since 2006 and the second highest median sales price in five years, the report noted.

In the Hamptons this past quarter, there was “a combination of surge in sales and drop in inventory, [which] caused the pace of the market to accelerate rapidly,” said Jonathan Miller, president of appraisal firm Miller Samuel, who compiled Elliman’s report.

Although the Hamptons isn’t experiencing as desperate an inventory crisis as New York City, listing inventory continued to fall in the second quarter, down 12.5 percent year-over-year to 1,573 available homes from 1,798 homes, Elliman’s report shows.

Bidding wars and best-and-finals have been “happening with well-priced product that’s fresh. People sense a good deal and they’re going after it,” said Ernie Cervi, the Corcoran Group’s executive managing director in Bridgehampton. “We’ll see [inventory] continuing to decline but you’re not going to see anything drastic.”

The median sales price of a Hamptons home in the second quarter was $920,000, an 8.2 percent year-over-year increase from $850,000, the Elliman report says. Despite the jump in transactions and prices, the numbers may have been even higher without the fourth quarter fiscal cliff rush and subsequent first quarter slump, the report noted.

“[People] saw the world wasn’t going to end in 2013,” Miller said. “A lot of people were holding back over the last two years because there was concern that interest rates would rise and prices would price some people out of the market. So we did have this sort of rush in the second quarter, year-over-year.”

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Since the second quarter — “the Super Bowl of the housing market,” Miller quipped — is historically the busiest for the Hamptons market, part of the increase in transactions could be attributed to seasonality, sources said.

“This time of month, sales people can usually take a day off, but they’re very busy straight through the season,” Cervi said. “They’re not at the beach this year. And we live at the beach.”

Prices in the Hamptons towns increased, for the most part, the reports show.

The town of Southampton Village showed the highest year-over-year price gains, with the median price of a home standing at $3.23 million, a 75 percent year-over-year increase from $1.9 million, Corcoran’s report shows.

Additionally, prices on the North Fork, which is not officially part of the Hamptons, continue to rise as the area becomes more popular, Cervi noted. According to the Corcoran report, the median price of a home in the North Fork was up 10 percent year-over-year, to $455,000 from $413,000.

Meanwhile, prices in the luxury market — the most expensive 10 percent of all sales — fell year-over-year, the reports show. The median price for a luxury Hamptons home was $5.78 million, down 9 percent year-over-year from $6.35 million, the Corcoran report says.

While the luxury market “may exhibit more volatility than the market overall,” Corcoran’s report said, the competition for luxury properties in the Hamptons remains strong.