Hamptons Listings Surge 82% in a Year, Pushing Home Prices Lower

(Bloomberg) -- For buyers in search of a vacation home in New York’s Hamptons, there’s suddenly an abundance of choices.

At the end of December, there were 2,197 homes for sale in the beachfront towns, an 82 percent jump from a year earlier and a record in 12 years of data-keeping by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Purchases dropped for a fourth straight quarter, the firms said in a report Thursday.

Would-be Hamptons buyers have been dragging their feet, betting their money is better off in the stock market, or reluctant to commit to discretionary purchases after a federal tax overhaul that capped write-offs for mortgage interest and property levies. With so much inventory, sellers will have to drop their prices to attract interest, said Cia Comnas, who oversees sales in the Hamptons for brokerage Brown Harris Stevens.

“Sellers are going to start to reduce, and then similar properties will all start to reduce, and then you’ll see a number of transactions take place,” she said in a phone interview. “If you’re a buyer right now, there’s some great deals out there.”

Hamptons Listings Surge 82% in a Year, Pushing Home Prices Lower

Purchases in the fourth quarter tumbled 35 percent, the biggest drop since 2009, according to Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman. For the 360 homes that changed hands, the median price was $995,000 -- the same as it’s been for four of the past eight quarters, said Jonathan Miller, chief executive officer of Miller Samuel.

Brown Harris Stevens, in its own report, said the largest share of sales in the quarter -- 34 percent -- were priced between $500,000 and $1 million.

The Hamptons market may be near its lowest point, according to Comnas.

“It’s hard to tell when you’re at the bottom -- you don’t hear a thud,” she said. “I think the sense among brokers out here is, yes, we’re at the bottom, and now is probably a good time to encourage your buyers to make a move.”

For Hamptons luxury properties -- the top 10 percent of sales -- prices rose even as sales declined, according to a report by brokerage Corcoran Group. Homes in the category traded for a median of $6.5 million, up 11 percent from a year earlier.

In East Hampton village, sales for more than $5 million doubled, driving a 67 percent jump in the median for the neighborhood, to $5.1 million, Corcoran said. There were 15 purchases in the village, up from 14 a year earlier.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.