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Long Island home sales spike; prices edge up

Long Island home sales activity surged last month,

Long Island home sales activity surged last month, with the number of homes changing hands jumping by nearly 14 percent in Nassau County and 8.7 percent in Suffolk in year-over-year comparison. Photo Credit: AP

Long Island home sales activity surged last month, and prices ticked up modestly.

The number of homes changing hands jumped 13.8 percent in Nassau County and 8.7 percent in Suffolk County compared to the previous August, the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island reported Tuesday.

Nassau County home prices edged up 0.3 percent annually, with homes selling for a median price of $470,000, according to the listing service. The median home price in Suffolk County rose 3.7 percent year-over-year, to $347,500.

August was a busy month for contract signings, too. The number of pending home sales rose year-over-year by 18.3 percent in Nassau and 14.1 percent in Suffolk.

"There definitely is a recovery going on, in terms of sales and contracts and prices," said Joe Moshé, broker-owner of Plainview-based Charles Rutenberg Realty.

First-time buyers are giving a boost to homes in the $250,000-to-$600,000 range, he said.

"As much as people would love to live closer to the city, the more affordable homes are in the Suffolk County area, so that's where you're seeing a bigger spike in the market," Moshé said. "The mortgage rates are still very reasonable, and people are just making the decision to buy."

The average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.9 percent last week, down 0.2 percentage points from a year earlier, mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported.

Home buyers had fewer options last month compared to a year earlier, according to listing service figures.

In Nassau, fewer than 7,000 homes were listed for sale -- 5 percent below last August, and a five-month supply at the current selling pace.

Suffolk had 10,842 home listings, down about 1 percent from a year before; it would take eight months to sell all those homes. A balanced market has a six- to eight-month supply, brokers say.

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