Rate cuts offer hope for comatose Hamptons market

Agents had even fewer East End homes to sell last month

Future Mortgage Rate Cuts Offer Hope for Hamptons Market
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

East End residences for sale got even harder to find last month, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel for Long Island’s premier second-home market.

With the Federal Reserve pausing interest rate hikes and signaling cuts in 2024, more homes are likely to hit the Hamptons and North Fork markets in the coming months, according to Jonathan Miller, author of Miller Samuel’s monthly report for Douglas Elliman.

Next year “is the year of incremental change,” Miller said. “The market’s coming back to zero instead of being a negative market. The next step is stable activity as supply improves.”

His report showed signed contracts ticked up last month on both the North and South forks, while new Hamptons listings plummeted — a double-whammy for inventory, which was already paltry.

In the Hamptons, new listings dropped 24 percent from October to November, while new signed contracts rose nearly 4 percent.

The uptick in deal activity was unexpected, as the market in the Hamptons tends to cool in November as the holidays approach, Miller said. That did happen in the much smaller North Fork market, where new signed contracts dipped 12 percent month-over-month and new listings fell 35 percent.

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Still, new signed contracts on the North Fork rose year-over-year from 19 to 22. The increase marked the first annual jump in three months.

New listings on the North Fork remained steady, increasing from 29 a year ago to 30 last month.

“The North Fork continues to not have the same intensity of inventory shortage,” Miller said. “Activity in the longer term has been higher because inventory has been more consistent.”

Contract activity has declined annually in the Hamptons for the past two and a half years, including last month. New signed contracts dropped 17 percent year-over-year, down from 65 to 54.

New listings rose for the second time in three months, up 8 percent annually from 88 to 95. Hamptons agents have been increasingly desperate for product to sell.

“Year-over-year, inventory is expanding, but in the short term, inventory fell sharply,” Miller said. “We’re seeing sales activity still significantly restrained by supply.”

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