North Fork has outpaced Hamptons in home price appreciation

Median sale up 86% over 10 years

North Fork Real Estate Inc's Kristen Rishe (North Fork Real Estate Inc, iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)
North Fork Real Estate Inc's Kristen Rishe (North Fork Real Estate Inc, iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)

Housing prices in the Hamptons are higher, but no market on Long Island has been hotter since the Great Recession than the North Fork.

The median sale price on the North Fork surged 86 percent between 2012 and 2021, rising to $800,000 from $430,000, Newsday reported, citing data gathered by Miller Samuel for Douglas Elliman.

The Hamptons boasted the highest median price on Long Island last year, $1.35 million, representing a 62 percent gain since 2012. The median home price in Suffolk County (excluding the East End, which is populated by second-home communities) rose 62 percent. Nassau County prices jumped 60 percent.

The price increase on the North Fork might not be over. In the fourth quarter, the median price on the largely agricultural peninsula was $900,000, a 12.5 percent year-over-year gain, according to Newsday.

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The most sales among North Fork communities last year were in Southold, the only one with more than 100. The highest median sale price was in Orient at nearly $1.4 million, while the biggest year-over-year surge was 51 percent jump in Peconic; Shelter Island Heights was the only community to see an annual price decline, and it was negligible.

Because of small sample sizes, the annual numbers for individual towns are somewhat random and not necessarily indicative of a local trend. But over all, the change in the North Fork housing market is a staggering one for some long-time residents.

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“Some of these areas were very depressed and you couldn’t give the real estate away,” Kristen Rishe, owner of North Fork Real Estate, told Newsday. “Now it’s prime real estate selling for millions of dollars.”

Like other markets seeing soaring housing prices, lack of inventory is a glaring issue. Only 74 houses are for sale in Southold, fewer than half of what Kristy Naddell, an associate broker at Douglas Elliman, would expect in a normal market.

Much of the North Fork is either off-limits to development, thanks to zoning and conservation easements, or has remained farmland because of tradition and profitability. Community resistance to development is strong.

As a consequence, the North Fork is seeing some of the same affordability issues as the Hamptons. Only 12 sales in the first quarter of this year were for less than $500,000, including none in the three easternmost towns: Orient, East Marion and Greenport.

At one time, the North Fork second-home market was dominated by sales to ordinary folks — teachers, firefighters and the like. But with high demand and low inventory triggering price appreciation, that has changed.

“I think the working class is not buying in the North Fork anymore,” Michael Hejmej, an agent with RE/MAX Sparrow Realty, told Newsday.

[Newsday] — Holden Walter-Warner