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Report: Long Island home sales edge down as prices rise

The median price of homes on Long Island, excluding the East End, climbed 4.9 percent in the first quarter to $429,999, Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel said in a new report.

Houses in Jericho, seen on Jan. 17, 2017.

Houses in Jericho, seen on Jan. 17, 2017. Long Island home prices are on the rise, according to a new report. Photo Credit: ALLislandAerial.com / Kevin P. Coughlin

Long Island home sales edged down at the beginning of the year as prices rose for the 24th straight quarter, a new report says.

The median price of homes on Long Island, excluding the Hamptons and the North Fork, climbed 4.9 percent in the first quarter to $429,999, real estate brokerage Douglas Elliman and appraisal company Miller Samuel said in a new report. That compares to $410,000 in the first quarter of 2018. 

"Prices are up, but it's not like the bubble days," said Ann Conroy, president of the Long Island division of Douglas Elliman.

In the first quarter Long Island homes sold at 3.7 percent below their original list price, which was unchanged from the previous year's quarter, and spent an average of 81 days on the market. There were 5,659 closed sales, 23 fewer than in the year-earlier period. 

The median sales price in Nassau County climbed 3.8 percent year over year to $519,000, while prices in Suffolk, excluding the East End, rose 6.7 percent to $369,250. 

The Hamptons, meanwhile, saw a year-over-year decline in the number of closed sales for the fifth consecutive quarter. In the latest period the number of sales fell almost 20 percent, and the median sales price declined 5.5 percent to $850,000.

In the top 10 percent of the Hamptons market, which the report termed as luxury homes, the number of closed sales fell 18.9 percent to 30 from 37, although the median sales price rose 18.2 percent to $6,562,500.

Carl Benincasa, Douglas Elliman's regional vice president of sales for the Hamptons, said there were fewer "massive deals" at the highest end of the market, pushing the average sales price in that market down 5.2 percent to $7,626,933.

Conroy said some buyers in the Long Island market might have hesitated as they felt a "bit of sticker shock" as they assessed the impact of changes in state and local tax deductions on their federal tax returns.

In the condominium market, excluding the East End, Conroy said the 7.8 percent decline in the number of sales to 757 was an "outlier" that is unlikely to continue. Median prices rose almost 5 percent for the January-through-March period to $285,000.

Jonathan Miller, president and chief executive of Manhattan-based Miller Samuel, said that the Long Island real estate market continues to outperform suburban peers like Westchester County and Fairfield County in Connecticut, though its "rate of growth has cooled."

Sales of Long Island real estate have been stoked by inventory that reached 26,145 homes in the second quarter of 2008, Miller said, more than twice the current inventory of 11,828.

"Inventory got so low because sales were so high," he said.

Long Island, excluding the East End, notched a record median sales price last summer of about $450,000, just a shade below the current $429,999.

"You're seeing a turn," Miller said. "But it's not a soft market. Usually prices take a year or two" to fall, he added.

On the North Fork the number of sales fell 9.8 percent year over year to 110, but the median sales price was unchanged at $606,250.

Earlier this month, the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island reported that in March, Suffolk County homes sold for a median price of $372,875, up 5.9 percent from a year earlier, while Nassau County’s median home price increased by 3.4 percent to $517,000.

 The listing service’s Suffolk data includes many East End homes. By contrast, the Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel report separates Suffolk into western and eastern regions.

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