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Long Island home sales, prices rise in November: MLSLI

The Long Island housing market got a boost

The Long Island housing market got a boost last month, with sales and prices on the rise in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Credit: Randee Daddona, 2012

Long Island's housing market continued to make gains in November, as prices edged up and the number of home sales jumped.

While some of the improvement reflected Sandy's impact a year ago, brokers said the market is showing strength.

In Nassau County, 915 properties were sold last month, a surge of 43.6 percent from November last year, according to a report released Monday by Multiple Listing Service of Long Island. The median sale price for homes was $418,000, up 5.8 percent from last year. The number of homes in contract to be sold in Nassau also swelled to 883 properties, up 64.4 percent from 2012.

The number of sales in Suffolk County rose year-over-year by 18.1 percent, to 939 properties. The median price was $318,500, a rise of 1.8 percent from a year earlier.

Although the figures suggest a comeback in Long Island's housing market, some local brokers cautioned against the comparison with last year's figures, since housing activity and prices may have been skewed by the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, which hit in late October.

"We've got to get away from the Sandy numbers before we see where the market's going," said Jerry O'Neill, owner of Coldwell Banker Harbor Light in Copiague. "When you have numbers of 64 percent in the pipeline, that would be an incredible increase if it wasn't for the fact that last year there obviously wasn't that much put into contract."

But O'Neill added that he had seen steady and positive activity through the year with many closings for first-time homeowners taking advantage of low interest rates.

"It's a result of the market getting better. I think it's a result of us coming out of being in a recovery period," said Joe Moshé, a broker and president of Plainview-based Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc.

The number of available homes on the market in Nassau shrank to 6,137 -- a 6.7-month supply, at November's rate of sales. In Suffolk, there were 15,394 homes for sale, a 9.9-month supply.

Home buyers also may have been driven to purchase now to take advantage of low interest rates before an anticipated rise, brokers said.

The average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan was 4.42 percent last week, up from 3.32 percent a year ago, according to mortgage lender Freddie Mac. Many forecasts have predicted that the rate will continue to rise in 2014.

"There's still rumors that the rate is going to go up," said Lenore Kaufman, a broker with Leesa Byrnes Realty in Sayville. "I think that's why we had a rush . . . if you had a nice house on the market, you had multiple interested buyers."

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