Long Island and Queens saw 3,885 home deals close last month, the second highest on record as people strove to beat the deadline for the federal home-buyers tax credit in case an extension was not approved, the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island said.

The highest was 3,916 closings in August 2005, a boom year according to the trade group, which has been systematically collecting sales data since 1973.

But the number of June contracts signed - the step before closing - fell 27.1 percent compared with a year ago, from 3,267 contracts to 2,382, data show. Real estate experts said the drop is a sign that buyers who might have signed contracts later pushed their closings up to take advantage of up to $8,000 in tax credits.

The median closing price of $367,500 was a 1.7 percent dip from $374,000 a year ago, according to MLS reports.

Congress and President Barack Obama pushed the June 30 closing deadline for the tax credit to midnight Sept. 30, a month that might also see an upswing in closings.

To Frank Dell'Accio, president of the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, the market now feels like 2003, before the house-buying frenzy started and before the tax credit created a pool of buyers to boost the sales slump.

"I don't feel any pressures like we can't locate buyers or we can't locate sellers," the broker said.

"It's a nice, temperate market. We could always use more buyers, but it's not like we don't have any. I really would term it a very normal market."

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