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Hamptons median price hit 15-year high as quarantine fueled a real estate comeback

The most expensive Hamptons sale during the third quarter was at 38 Two Mile Hollow Rd., seen at left, which sold for $24 million.

Corcoran

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2020
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Sales continue to plunge in New York City, but if you drive several hours east on the Long Island Expressway it’s a different world, where new records are being set for both transactions and prices in the Hamptons, North Fork, and Long Island real estate markets.

The Hamptons saw the highest median sales price in 15 years of tracking—and it’s a similar story in the North Fork (14 years), according to the third quarter Elliman Report for the Hamptons, North Fork, and Long Island. Sales surged in all three areas as well—and inventory hit new lows as houses and condos were snatched up.

“A record number of records,” as Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the report, calls the third-quarter findings. He points out that the Hamptons and the North Fork real estate markets, and to some extent Long Island, are tied to Manhattan and Wall Street. Sales in these markets depend on the city’s economy and how much New Yorkers earn there—yet these markets are outperforming NYC, where Manhattan sales have fallen by nearly 50 percent for the past two quarters.

One likely answer: The Hamptons and North Fork are largely second home markets and the strength of these areas exemplifies the rise of “co-primary homes,” or the phenomenon of turning a second or vacation home into a primary residence to ride out the pandemic, and now not just for the summer but into the fall—evidenced by record school enrollment on the East End.

Still, Miller doesn’t think this is a permanent situation for most New Yorkers.

“We’re not going to end up here. There will be some middle ground, with families eventually shifting back to the city,” he says. “We’re at peak Zoom,” he says, and there’s lots of fatigue with social distancing restrictions.

Still, the market in Hamptons, like Greenwich, Connecticut, has been rising like a rocket, without a sign of a plateau, as is the case in some of the northern suburbs. Single-family, new signed contracts in the Hamptons were up 76 percent in September year over year.

In the Hamptons, sales jumped 51 percent over the year-ago quarter—the largest surge in nearly seven years. The median sales price, $1,200,000, was an increase of 40 percent over last year.

Hamptons luxury properties—representing the top 10 percent of the market, saw a 48.8 percent increase in sales (that’s not a record), demonstrating the strength of the high-end relative to the rest of the market. It’s quite a comeback story considering how slow luxury sales were here for many months.

On the North Fork, the median sales price rose 11.7 percent to $702,500 and sales hit the highest level since 2006, climbing 41 percent. Deals there saw the highest number of bidding wars in more than four years of tracking.

On Long Island, the median sales price, $500,000, was a new record. The number of sales didn’t surpass last year’s quarter but jumped 56.9 percent from the second quarter. Other new records were set for the single-family average sales price ($610,622) condo median sales price ($322,500), luxury median sales price ($1,235,000), and numerous other metrics.

Other market reports

Corcoran’s third quarter Hamptons and East End sales market report noted the booming increase in number of sales and total dollar value of sold properties, which reached $1.223 billion, a 53 percent increase year-over-year. The most expensive sale during the quarter was at 38 Two Mile Hollow Rd., which sold for $24 million.