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Long Island home sales dipped, prices rose in August, MLS reports

This home in Central Islip is listed for

This home in Central Islip is listed for $549,990. The median sale price for homes in Suffolk County in August was $415,000. Credit: James Carbone

Long Island home sales slowed last month, though sellers still have the advantage over buyers.

In Nassau County, 1,321 homes changed hands in August, down 12 percent from a year earlier, the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island reported Friday. The market slowed in Suffolk County, too, with 1,744 closed home sales last month, a year-over-year drop of 5 percent.

In Suffolk County, homes sold for a median price of $415,000 last month, up 3.8 percent from the previous August. Nassau County’s median closed sale price last month was $555,000, up 0.9 percent from a year earlier.

Buyers seeking homes with plenty of outdoor space and upscale features such as walk-in closets and en-suite bathrooms are venturing farther into Suffolk County in search of bargains, said Roy Clark, a real estate agent with LI Community Realty in Brentwood.

“What they’re looking for, they really can’t get in East Meadow,” since prices are higher in communities closer to New York City, Clark said. “The fact that there’s low inventory has sellers in a place where they feel that they can demand what they want, and in most cases they can.”

Indeed, Long Island remains a seller’s market, at least for low- and mid-priced homes,  though inventory is starting to grow in Nassau County. The number of homes listed for sale in August increased year-over-year    by about 9 percent in Nassau County, while listings fell by less than 1 percent year-over-year in Suffolk, listing service figures show. At the current pace of sales, it would take 4.5 months to sell all the homes listed in Nassau and just over four months in Suffolk. A balanced market has a six- to eight-month supply, brokers say.  

Last month’s slowdown was not the first indication that home buyers are closing fewer deals on Long Island.  The housing market has seen year-over-year declines in six of the last 12 months    in Nassau and   seven of the last 12 months in Suffolk, listing service figures show.  

Mortgage rates averaged 3.56 percent this week, down more than 1 percentage point from a year earlier, mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported Thursday.

That’s letting cash-strapped buyers stay in the game, Clark said: “You come down half a point or a full point, it really does help a whole lot.”

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