Q4 Hamptons home sales: Back to normal

Region rebounds from dire fourth quarter in 2012; Southampton Village hot as a pistol

Hamptons sales activity (Credit: Corcoran Group)
Hamptons sales activity (Credit: Corcoran Group)

Although the fourth quarter typically marks the off-peak season for the Hamptons, home sales during the three months were unusually strong — particularly in the Southampton area.

According to a report from Hamptons residential brokerage Town & Country, the number of homes sold in the Hamptons for the quarter jumped to 432 from 356 during the same period the previous year.  That’s a 21 percent increase. The median sales price tapered off a mere 2.6 percent, to $950,000. Overall sales volume grew by 6 percent to $816 million, Town & Country data show.

“My concern here is there’s little inventory, as replacement inventory is slim,” said Judi Desiderio, CEO of Town & Country.

The market is returning to more normal conditions after a stark outlier of a fourth quarter in 2012, when luxury sellers rushed to close deals to avoid the fiscal cliff, according to Jonathan Miller of appraisal firm Miller Samuel, who compiled the Douglas Elliman’s fourth-quarter Hamptons report.

“Whoever said changes in tax policy do not affect real estate is severely mistaken,” Jonathan Miller of appraisal firm Miller Samuel told The Real Deal.

Southampton Village, located in the southeastern part of Suffolk County, recovered in a big way from a lackluster 2012. The number of home sales doubled year-over-year to 32 from 16, and the sales volume soared nearly 205 percent to $166.8 million from $54.7 million. Four houses went for more than $10 million. In Q4 2014, only one sale topped that mark.

In the greater Southampton area, the median home sales price climbed 36 percent to $844,772 from $620,000, according to Town & Country data.

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The neighborhood with the highest median home sales price was Bridgehampton – at $3.1 million, a 7 percent increase year-over-year. The neighborhood with the lowest median price was Hampton Bays – at $380,000. That’s still an increase of nearly 12 percent year-over-year.

East Hampton Village, on the other hand, took the biggest tumble. That area saw a 66.5 percent decrease in sales volume to $55 million from $164.4 million and a 45.6% percent decrease in the median sales price to $2.45 million from $4.5 million.

The final three months of 2014 not only saw an improvement in sales over Q4 2012, but the third quarter of 2013 as well. Sales in Q3 slipped 9.1 percent in the Hamptons overall, to 252 from 278 sales in the prior year quarter, as The Real Deal reported. Median sales price dropped 7 percent, from $823,500 to $765,000.

According to Town & Country’s year-end review, all 12 markets in the Hamptons saw a bump up in home sales. Montauk led in that department with a 54 percent year-over-year jump, to 122 sales from 79.

The North Fork, which is not officially part of the Hamptons, experienced triple-digit growth in the fourth quarter in both number of home sales and volume year-over-year, according to the Corcoran Group’s quarterly report. There were 179 sales, up 70 percent from 105, and $103.1 million in sales volume, up 80 percent from $57.1 million.

The declines in the days on market and listing discounts are examples of the Hamptons returning to more normal levels while market conditions remain tight, said Miller, who compiled Douglas Elliman’s quarterly report.

The days on market dropped by 25.2 percent to 163 from 218, while the listing discount slipped to 7.9 percent from 13.1 percent, Elliman data shows.