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East End housing market outpacing rest of LI

Mortgage rates Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011, were reported

Mortgage rates Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011, were reported close to the all-time low reached this past month. Credit: iStock

The Hamptons home-sales market outpaced the rest of Long Island again on both closings and closing prices, according to new figures on second-quarter sales.

The Hamptons median closing price of $937,500 was up 4 percent from a year earlier and 34 percent from the previous quarter, Prudential Elliman Douglas Real Estate reported.

Closings in the Hamptons rose 3 percent from a year earlier but 59 percent from the first quarter, the report said.

That was because sales were artificially flat early in the year after high-end buyers last year rushed to close in case capital gains tax relief was not renewed, said Jonathan Miller, the Manhattan appraiser commissioned to do the report. "It rebounded quickly," he said.

Outside of the Hamptons, the Island's median closing price of $350,000 was 3 percent down from a year ago and unchanged from the first quarter, the report said.

The number of closings fell 29 percent from a year ago, when the federal home buyers' tax credit fueled closings.

Closings rose 9.5 percent from the first quarter, reflecting a bit of the increase normally seen during the prime house hunting season.

Bill Collins, a Bay Shore appraiser who publishes online at appraisernews.com, said the number of closings and prices are not back to normal.

He cited Wednesday's figures from the National Association of Realtors, which said 16 percent of agents had reported sales contracts being canceled in June, up from 4 percent in May.

Collins said he's been downgrading property values 5 percent to 10 percent from a year ago. "We have extremely nervous buyers," he said.

"You don't want to buy a house and have it go down 20 percent in the first year."

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