Buyers hunt Hamptons, North Fork homes — often in vain

South Fork listings were depleted at the fastest rate on record

Home shoppers in the Hamptons and North Fork are more eager than ever, but sales are falling because so little is left to buy.

The number of first-quarter sales in the Hamptons plunged 37 percent from the previous quarter, from 803 to 509, according to a report by appraiser Miller Samuel for Douglas Elliman. On the North Fork, sales declined 38 percent, from 291 to 181.

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Sales remain well ahead of their pace of a year ago, however. In the Hamptons and North Fork they were 48 percent and 59 percent higher than in January through March of 2020, respectively.

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High demand and rising home values have not inspired many owners to sell. In the Hamptons, listing inventory fell 34 percent in the quarter — the fastest rate in the 13 years that Miller Samuel has been tracking the data.

In North Fork, inventory decreased 11 percent from the fourth quarter and 58 percent from the first quarter of 2020.

The houses that do list are flying off the market. In the Hamptons, they sold in just 101 days, on average — 32 percent faster than a year ago. The North Fork’s number was a mere 73 days, a 39 percent drop.

The trend mimics other parts of the country. In March, 49 percent of U.S. homes that went into contract had been on the market for less than two weeks, according to Redfin.

Other parts of the tri-state area have seen similar interest from buyers, pushing inventory down and prices up. In Greenwich, home sales nearly doubled in the first quarter compared with the same period in 2020.