Home prices surged in Suffolk and Nassau during December, Multiple...

Home prices surged in Suffolk and Nassau during December, Multiple Listing Service figures show. Here, a home for sale in Seaford. Credit: Newsday / Steven Pfost

Long Island home prices surged last month, driven up by scarce inventory.

In Suffolk County, homes traded for a median closed price of $415,000 in December, up 10% from a year earlier, the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island reported Friday. Nassau County’s median sale price increased by 4.5% year-over-year, to $538,000.

The number of closed sales increased annually by 1.7% in Suffolk and 4.1% in Nassau, the listing service reported.

Defying the usual winter doldrums for the housing market, prospective buyers remained active throughout the holidays. New contract signings soared by nearly 21 percent in Suffolk and more than 15 percent in Nassau, compared with the previous December.

The strong economy, rising stock market, low unemployment and near-record-low mortgage rates are all prompting buyers to make their move, said Jean-Paul Commisso, manager of Cornerstone Real Estate Services in Smithtown.

“If a house is priced right, it sells within a week or so,” Commisso said. “You’re seeing bidding wars, you’re seeing all that kind of activity. ... I’ve got people hounding me on my listings that have accepted offers.”

The average mortgage rate was 3.64% on a 30-year fixed-rate this week, the lowest in 13 weeks and about 0.8 percentage point lower than a year earlier, mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported.

The number of homes listed for sale fell annually by 7% in Suffolk and 4% in Nassau, tipping the market further in favor of sellers, listing service figures show. At the current sales pace, it would take 3.4 months to sell all the homes listed in Suffolk and 3.8 months in Nassau — well below the six- to eight-month supply that brokers say makes for a balanced market.

“It’s very hard to get into anything in the $300,000 to $500,000 range, there’s just too much demand, so it’s very easy to sell anything in that price range,” Commisso said. Demand is weaker for pricier homes, he said: “The high end is stable, but it’s not like it used to be.”

Latest Videos