Hurricane Sandy dented Hamptons homes prices in Q1: report

An aerial shot of the Hamptons

The lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy dealt a blow to Hamptons residential prices, according to the most recent quarterly market report from East End brokerage Town & Country Real Estate.

The median sale price for a Hamptons home fell to $750,000, from $817,500, in the first quarter of 2013, an almost 8.3 percent drop from the same period the year before, the report shows. Overall, the total dollar volume of home sales in the area fell 19.8 percent year-over-year, to $316 million from $394 million, while the number of home sales dropped 4 percent year-over-year to 248 from 257.

The Oct. 29 storm is to blame for the lower prices, said Town & Country CEO Judi Desiderio. Additionally, buyers, particularly those in the luxury market, are purchasing less expensive homes out of continued concerns related to the recession, pushing median prices down.

Indeed, sales of homes in the middle of the market — between $2 million and $3.49 million — increased 41 percent year-over-year, from 22 transactions to 31 transactions. And sales under $1 million made up the majority of purchases in the first quarter, Desiderio noted.

“People have been choosing ‘less is more,’” Desiderio said. “But the reason why there is so much red ink on this report really has to do more with the weather than anything else.”

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The East End was one of the many causalities of Hurricane Sandy, and purchasing real estate has not been on the forefront of people’s minds, Desiderio said.

Southampton Village suffered the biggest drop in sales of any Hamptons town in the first quarter, the report says, declining to a mere four transactions from 15 a year ago — a 73 percent drop. Dollar volume of sales fell almost 85.9 percent, to $6.94 million from $49.08 million year-over-year. However, the median sale price more than doubled, to $1.63 million from $800,000, compared to the first quarter of 2012.

However, Desiderio anticipated a much healthier market in the second and third quarter, noting that Town & Country’s eight offices have been busy with clients and closings recently.

“This [report] is no indication of what we’re actually experiencing right now,” Desiderio said. “Because everybody is so busy that means that next quarter and the quarter after that the numbers should be really, really good.”