Sales, prices rise for Hampton homes

The number of closings rose 12.4 percent for

The number of closings rose 12.4 percent for the Hamptons and 18.4 percent for the rest of the Island, according to third-quarter data from Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, a major metropolitan area broker. (Credit: Getty Images, 2009)

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Home sales in the Hamptons and the rest of Long Island jumped in the third quarter compared with a year ago, rebounding from a weak market, two new reports show.

The number of closings rose 12.4 percent for the Hamptons and 18.4 percent for the rest of the Island, according to third-quarter data from Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, a major metropolitan area broker. Overall Long Island home sales data for the period have been reported by the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, but the new report released shows activity in the wealthy Hamptons area.

In the third quarter last year, the Long Island market was in a slump as buyers took a breather after the federal home buyers tax credit expired, said appraiser Jonathan Miller of Manhattan-based Miller Samuel Inc., who compiled the data for the reports. This made the 2011 third-quarter activity look good, he said.

The median closing price of homes sold in the Hamptons rose 22 percent, to $850,000, from the year-earlier period, Miller said. That increase was skewed by a jump in the sales of luxury properties priced $5 million and up, he said. There were 54 closings in the luxury end, up 15 percent from the same period last year, the report said, enough to boost the median price; the median measures the midpoint in a series of numbers.

Although the economy and the housing sector are shaky, Miller said he saw the high-end activity as a vote of confidence for Hamptons real estate independent of the stock market. Typically, Hamptons sales are closely tied to Wall Street, which has been jettisoning jobs all year.

Buyers seem to have more confidence in the stability of real estate prices than in financial markets, Miller said. "That one factor is driving demand and that's what we're seeing in Manhattan as well."

On the rest of the Island, the median closing price of $365,000 was a 3.2 percent drop from $377,250 a year earlier but an increase from the second quarter's $350,000, data show.

Also, third quarter closings jumped 22 percent from the preceding quarter; the second quarter includes the prime spring house-hunting season, which was slow this year, Miller said.

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