Party in the Hamptons, but BYOB: homes on Long Island’s East End sold quickly in the third quarter, with most of transactions in the under-$1 million market.

Sales of Hamptons residences increased by 1.8 percent compared to the third quarter in 2011, according to a new report prepared by Miller Samuel Inc. for Prudential Douglas Elliman. The popularity of more modestly priced “starter mansions” pushed down the median sales price to $765,000, an annual decrease of 10 percent. The length of time to sell the current number of homes on the market was 9.6 months, the fastest third-quarter rate in more than five years.

In the third quarter, 177 homes sold for less than $1 million, encouraged by first-time Hamptons nesters drawn to record-low interest rates, according to reports by Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead Property. The sub-million market accounted for 60 percent of sales, while $8 million-plus homes only represented 2 percent of deals for the time period.

This doesn’t mean that Hamptons abodes are getting cheaper, though; the more elaborate manses are just staying off the market. “It’s not about discounting prices — the properties that are trading are priced appropriately,” Ernie Cervi, an executive managing director at Corcoran in Bridgehampton, L.I., told Crain’s.

In fact, prices are anticipated to rise slightly because of the lack of inventory: the number of Hamptons homes for sale was 1,302 in the third quarter, a 16 percent decrease from 2011 and significantly below the five-year average of 1,550, according to Samuel Miller.

Tip for new buyers: the hottest place to buy is Montauk, with market reports showing a leap in sales on the easternmost tip of Long Island.

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