Hamptons sales take surprising dive in Q3

Hamptons Q3 sales (courtesy Town & Country Real Estate)
Hamptons Q3 sales (courtesy Town & Country Real Estate)

In a surprising twist, home sales on the East End plummeted in the third quarter over the same period last year, with the high end of the market taking an outsize hit, according to the most recent report from Hamptons residential brokerage Town & Country Real Estate.

“Last year wasn’t a bang year, and this was [almost] 10 percent lower,” in terms of sales volume, said Judi Desiderio, CEO of Town & Country.

In a period with huge sales reported, such as SAC Capital founder Steve Cohen’s $60 million buy on East Hampton’s Further Lane and shoe purveyor Vince Camuto’s $48 million Southampton property in contract, many observers would have expected more optimistic numbers, Desiderio admitted. But what might have seemed like a frothy market belied the reality —  sales slipped 9.1 percent in the Hamptons overall, to 252 from 278 sales in the prior year quarter, the report shows. Median sales price dropped 7 percent, from $823,500 to $765,000.

Desiderio said what she and her brokers saw as a relatively busy third quarter will probably be reflected in the data next quarter. “There is such a lag time,” for home sales to close, she said.

While her firm recently closed two sales of oceanfront properties with price tags over $10 million, only two sales over that threshold were recorded in the third quarter, down from five in the third quarter of 2012, the report shows.

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The only bright spots were Southampton Village, which recovered handily after a dismal year last year — the median sale price skyrocketed 88 percent, to $2.6 million from $1.38 million – and the segment of the market between $1 million and $2 million, Desiderio said. That range saw transactions grow by 16 percent, to 57 from 49, year-over-year, the report shows.

East Hampton Village, meanwhile, saw sales and pricing plummet. Only four homes sold, down 64 percent from 11 in the third quarter of 2013, and the median price fell to $1.61 million, down 43 percent from $2.9 million last year at this time.

But Desiderio was hopeful that next quarter’s report will show a boost in activity.

“We were busy up until the international embarrassment of the government shutting down,” she said. “That was like a balloon that just completely deflated.”