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Hamptons high-end closings reach high

This East Hampton mansion sold for $25.5 million,

This East Hampton mansion sold for $25.5 million, according to the Long Island Real Estate Report. Credit: Handout

It's not in today's Miller Samuel home price reports, but the Hamptons had more $5 million-plus closings in the last three months of 2010 than in any other quarter since the subprime market went bust in 2007.

Appraiser Jonathan Miller, who compiled the numbers, said there were 38 such sales. He got the idea to track the uber high market when investment bank Lehman Brothers filed bankruptcy in 2008. Wall Street’s health and bonuses is “joined at the hip” to the Hamptons luxury market.

In the last quarter of 2009, there were 24 sales of homes with $5 million-plus price tags, he said. That's average, he noted, while in the first three months of 2009, after Lehman died, there were seven such closings.

After Wall Street melted, Hamptons buyers had pretty much focused on the less pricey end of the luxury market as they zeroed in on bargains, but Miller said the latest numbers show the mix of sales returning to something a little more normal.

"I would characterize the market as rebounding relatively quickly from sort of the dark days of post Lehman," Miller said. "We're at this point where we're going to perhaps see less volatility and perhaps more of what we've seen in the last couple quarters, and that would be a modest level of sales activity, a modest level of inventory and a stability in pricing."

But there was nothing modest about the Hamptons-North Fork gains in median closing prices over the last decade. According to Miller Samuel's 10-year look, the median closing price was $787,500 last year and $350,000 in 2001. That's a 125 percent increase.

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