The Hamptons housing market declined by nearly every statistical measure in the first quarter of 2013, according to a report released Monday by East End brokerage Town and Country Real Estate.
Despite signs of a rising housing market nationally and an uptick in Hamptons home sales in each of the previous five quarters, the poor performance shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Sales that were closed and recorded in the first quarter often reflect deals forged during the fourth quarter of 2012, when Sandy slammed the East End.
Overall, home sales slipped 4 percent, to 248, compared with the same period a year ago. The median price of those homes dropped 8.3 percent to $750,000 yielding a substantial 19.8 percent annual decline in the combined value of all closed sales in the Hamptons.
The latter statistic, in particular, reflects a reduced appetite for high-end homes. In the first quarter of 2013, just 15 sales closed worth more than $3.5 million, down from 26 such sales during the same period in 2012. The number of homes that traded for less than $1 million remained precisely the same.
But with Sandy firmly in the rearview mirror, Town and Country chief executive Judi Desiderio said she expected the Hamptons to regain its positive sales momentum in the coming months. While the firm's reports are based on data from all transactions by all firms, she noted in a statement that her agents "are busier than ever."
Montauk was the best-performing part of the region, as the number of homes sold jumped to 24 from 17 during the first quarter of 2012. Though the median housing price in the area dipped 15 percent year over year, the total dollar amount traded jumped more than 50 percent. There were two homes sold worth more than $3.5 million last quarter, whereas there were none in that price range during the first three months of 2012.
The East Hampton area, including Wainscott, saw a negligible uptick in home sales but a 37.1 percent rise in median sale price, thanks largely to a precipitous 59 percent drop -- to nine sales from 22 -- in the number of homes sold for less than $500,000.
Bridgehampton, which includes Water Mill and Sagaponack, experienced the exact same number of home sales year over year, but a 31.2 percent fall in median home prices as buyers migrated to homes selling for less than $3.5 million.
Westhampton witnessed the sharpest decline in housing market performance last quarter, with the number of sales dropping 29 percent year over year to 34 percent and the median price plummeting 23.3 percent to $630,000.
The Southampton, Sag Harbor and Shelter Island areas didn't record enough sales on their own for the data to be statistically significant.
In a separate report on the North Fork market, Town and Country reported a 35.7 percent tumble in sales, to 45 from 70, but a 20.7 percent increase in median sales price to $473,000 from $391,750.