This East Hampton mansion sold for $25.5 million, according to...

This East Hampton mansion sold for $25.5 million, according to the Long Island Real Estate Report. Credit: Handout

House prices for the last three months of 2010 rose in the North Fork-Hamptons market but fell for the rest of Long Island, according to data released Thursday.

Among high-end homes, the median closing price of $730,000 was a jump of 4 percent from a year ago and 17 percent from the preceding quarter, said Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, which commissioned the report. Data show sales fell 5 percent from a year ago, when pent-up demand led to many deals, but rose 15 percent from the preceding quarter.

But for what's considered Main Street Long Island, the median closing price was $356,050, a drop of 1.4 percent from a year ago and 5.6 percent from the preceding quarter, the data said. Sales fell 28 percent from a year ago, when the federal home buyers tax credit was available, and 2 percent from the preceding quarter, data show.

"Long Island is more correlated to the general economy of the region, and the Hamptons is more closely correlated to the securities industries," said appraiser Jonathan Miller, whose firm compiled the data.

The sales and price trends echo the divide between Wall Street and Main Street. For most of the Island, the 7 percent unemployment rate has not moved much off recent highs, while the foreclosure crisis keeps closing prices from moving up fast. But a rising stock market and hefty Wall Street bonuses have helped fuel higher-end sales in the Hamptons.

"I am cautiously optimistic, but I don't want to wave the banner yet," said Paul Brennan, Prudential's Hamptons director.

Last year was one of the best for the 30-year real estate veteran. He said sales heated up in the last quarter, when sellers were more eager to close for fear the White House would not extend the Bush tax cuts, which include breaks on capital-gains taxes for home sales. The tax cuts were extended last month.

"I feel there is a market, which is the good news here," Brennan said.

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