Suffolk County's real estate market got a boost last month, with prices and pending home sales on the rise. Nassau saw smaller increases in prices and activity.
The median home price in Suffolk jumped to $335,000 in September, a year-over-year increase of 6 percent, according to a report released Wednesday by the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island.
Suffolk home sales are "stabilizing," especially for lower-priced properties, said Meg Smith, owner of Meg Smith and Associates Real Estate in Bay Shore.
Homes listed at about $200,000 to $400,000, she said, "are just flying off the shelves, so to speak. If it's a good, clean house and priced at fair market value, you're going to have multiple offers."
Buyers also seem to be gravitating to homes that are elevated or located away from shorelines because of recent damage caused by a severe rainstorm that hit Suffolk's South Shore in August and because of the aftermath of superstorm Sandy on Oct. 29, 2012, Smith said.
"Your waterfront areas, they're not necessarily your desired areas at the moment," she said.
In Nassau County, homes sold for a median price of $430,000 last month, nearly 1 percent higher than the previous September, the listing service reported.
Closed home sales in Suffolk inched up by 1.6 percent year over year, to 1,152, according to the listing service. The number of homes going into contract saw a more dramatic increase, with 1,220 contract signings -- 13.6 percent higher than the previous September.
In Nassau County, 1,069 homes changed hands last month, 3.4 percent more than the year-ago period. The number of pending sales rose by 7.6 percent, to 928.
"I'm definitely seeing an improvement in home sales, and more people are looking," said Gosia Onufrik, a real estate agent with Paul Gold Real Estate in Long Beach.
Many Sandy-damaged homes are being rebuilt, or replaced by new modular houses, now that homeowners have gotten financing for the projects, Onufrik said.
The new or rebuilt structures are elevated above street level to protect them from floods, she noted.
The number of Long Island homes for sale increased by 5 percent year over year, to 17,940, the listing service reported.