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LI housing market off to busy start to the year

Stephen Checca, left, an associate broker at Charles

Stephen Checca, left, an associate broker at Charles Rutenberg Realty, shows a house in East Elmhurst to prospective buyers Rupinder Kaur, center, and her daughter, Simran Sekhon, both of East Elmhurst, on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Long Island’s housing market got off to a busy start this year, particularly in Suffolk County.

The number of home sales jumped by 18 percent in Suffolk compared with the previous January, with 925 closed transactions, the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island reported Friday.

“As new inventory comes in, if it’s priced right and it’s a good piece of property, people are jumping on it and there are multiple offers,” said Meg Smith, broker-owner of Meg Smith and Associates Real Estate in Bay Shore.

In Nassau County, 840 homes changed hands, a year-over-year gain of 5 percent.

Despite that activity, the median home price barely budged in Suffolk, inching up 0.6 percent, to $317,000. Nassau’s median home price ticked up by 3 percent, to $442,500.

With many newly built homes for sale in Shirley, Manorville and East Moriches, including scores of condominiums set aside for people 55 and older, Suffolk is attracting plenty of new residents, said Steve Abruzzo, an associate broker with Gateway to the Hamptons Real Estate in Center Moriches.

“Most of our buyers are coming from Nassau,” Abruzzo said. “They’re getting good money for their homes and they’re coming out and buying cash, no mortgage, and they can retire out here.”

Home buyers are gravitating toward waterfront areas along Suffolk’s southern coast, which has rebounded from the October 2012 superstorm Sandy, Smith said.

And a growing number of buyers are looking for property in downtowns such as Bay Shore, she said. “That’s something that’s popular among downsizers and popular among young people,” she said.

Both counties saw big jumps in pending sales. In Suffolk, the number of contract signings increased annually by 14.5 percent, to 879. Home buyers in Nassau signed 803 contracts, a year-over-year gain of nearly 22 percent.

The number of homes for sale dropped annually by 10 percent in Nassau and 4.3 percent in Suffolk, listing service numbers show. At the current pace of sales, it would take 6.2 months to sell all the listed homes in Nassau and 9.4 months in Suffolk. A balanced real estate market has a six- to eight-month supply of homes, brokers say.


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