Hamptons Housing Market: ‘Eh’

Are buyers flocking back to the Hamptons? Is there hope for the real estate market? The signs (like much else in the economy) are ambiguous.  

A new Miller Samuel and Prudential Douglas Elliman report shows the number of home sales dramatically increased over 59 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 from the same period in 2008, but the average sales price is still down (by 12.3 percent annually). It seems house hunters in the Hamptons market are taking advantage of reduced prices and low mortgage rates, snapping up cheap properties (or cheaper properties; it is the Hamptons after all!).

Route 27 – which separates the ritzier south Hamptons from the north – marks opposing trends. Median sales price south of the highway continued to freefall 30.5 percent, from $1,162,000 to $807,000. Meanwhile, the median for north of Route 27 properties was $975,000, a jump of 30 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008. Yes, it is now cheaper to buy a home south of Route 27.

Other stats:

The listing inventory was 1,634, up 6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008.

The median sales price for the top-fifth of the market, by number of sales, rose 2.7 percent annually to $3,750,000; the bottom fifth, by 5.4 percent to $321,500.

The report covers deals closed in the last three months of 2009.