Buyers Snapping Up Vacant Land in the Hamptons

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Photo: iStockphoto

The East End’s looking mighty fine, and we don’t mean the beautiful people who inhabit it. (Nor the beaches.) Real estate firms released their second-quarter reports today, and it looks like the once-sinking ship known as the East End property market continues to right itself.

For the second quarter in a row, buyers have been busy in the Hamptons. According to appraiser Jonathan Miller, who crunched the data for Prudential Douglas Elliman, sales jumped 9.6 percent from 2011 to 539 transactions, and not just in the luxury market. The million-dollar-and-under segment saw its market share rise from 61.2 percent of all sales a year ago to 63.2 percent. Decent inventory — it’s up 10.8 percent from a year ago — may have helped spur purchases. At current mortgage rates, if banks weren’t as strict as they are now with their underwriting, Miller says “we’d probably have a boom in the Hamptons.”

Nonetheless, the average sales price in the Hamptons, now $1.724 million, remains virtually unchanged from the same period last year and the median price is actually down 9.3 percent at $850,000. Plenty of buyers scooped up vacant land in the South Fork, says the Corcoran Group’s Ernie Cervi, who also says sales of these types of listings rose for the fifth quarter in a row.

Certainly, Wainscott had an awesome April-to-June stint, per Corcoran’s survey. Granted, there were only twelve deals there in that time period, but that amounts to a 100 percent spike. Both median and average prices rose — by 105 percent and 61 percent, respectively — and dollar volume increased 222 percent. East Quogue and Hampton Bays, meanwhile, saw all measures — average and median prices, as well as number of sales and dollar volume — drop by double digits.

The North Fork, a much smaller market accounting for just a fifth of East End transactions, also had an active season. Closings are up 30 percent from 2011, for a total of 91 deals, per Brown Harris Stevens. The average sales price, $653,535, is up 16.7 percent from the previous quarter, but barely nudged up — 0.3 percent — from last year, says Elliman. There may be good news when the next market reports come out, too, if current trends continue. Cia Comnas of BHS says buyers haven’t taken their usual summer break. “[The market’s] moving in the right direction,” she says. “It’s been unusually active for July.”