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June home sales on LI slow from year earlier

The pool behind the home at 38 Ezekills

The pool behind the home at 38 Ezekills Hollow Dr. in North Haven on May 5, 2014. The home is for sale for $14,990,000. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Long Island's real estate market slowed last month, with the number of sales dropping year-over-year in both counties.

The number of homes sold in Nassau County fell to 969 in June, a decline of 5.6 percent from a year earlier, according to a report released Tuesday by the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island. In Suffolk County, 1,075 homes changed hands, 3.8 percent lower than the previous June.

Nassau County's median home price ticked up slightly, to $430,000, an annual increase of 1.2 percent. The median price fell by 2.9 percent year-over-year in Suffolk, to $330,000.

Aspiring home sellers in Suffolk County found more takers, with 1,382 homes going into contract last month, a nearly 20 percent increase compared to the previous June. Suffolk's median pending sales price of $329,000 was 1.2 percent higher than a year earlier. In Nassau County, 1,167 homes went into contract, 2 percent more than the previous June, and the median pending sales price dropped by 0.2 percent, to $439,000.

Lenders are "scrutinizing everything," from buyers' finances to whether a home's fence is on the correct side of the property line, said Michael Morris, a broker with Moriches-based Coldwell Banker M&D Good Life. "It's like a black hole," Morris said. "You've got all this business coming in, and you're waiting for it to close."

Plus, the rising cost of flood insurance is putting a damper on prices in flood zones, he said. Buyers "have to take into consideration how much flood insurance is going to be, and that affects the value," he said. "Five hundred dollars a month buys a lot of mortgage power."

But while the Island's housing market may be sluggish overall, in certain communities buyers are snapping up homes soon after they're listed, brokers said.

"We don't have enough inventory," said Edna Mashaal of Edna Mashaal Realty in Great Neck. "When they come on the market, people are grabbing them."

Across the Island, 18,504 homes were listed for sale last month, an increase of 5.6 percent compared to the year-ago period. It would take just over nine months to sell all those homes, at the current pace of sales. A healthy real estate market has a six- to eight-month supply, brokers say.

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