Hamptons holiday homes see rise in sales

Interest climbs in New York state's exclusivearea as more houses come on to the market

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 July, 2014, 5:59am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 July, 2014, 8:26am

Home sales in New York's Hamptons, the Long Island holiday locale popular among financiers and celebrities, climbed in the second quarter as more inventory became available for buyers.

Purchases increased 3.7 per cent from a year earlier to 700 homes, according to a report today by appraiser Miller Samuel and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The median price fell 1.3 per cent to US$908,500, reflecting a shift toward deals done at the lower end of the market.

Sales were boosted by a 4.7 per cent increase in inventory from a year earlier and harsh winter weather that pushed several transactions into the second quarter, said Jonathan Miller, president of New York-based Miller Samuel. The median Hamptons home price is up almost 35 per cent from a 2009 bottom, helping to increase supply as owners take advantage of gains.

"We're seeing stability and modest activity in pricing and sales," Miller said. "It all points towards a longer-term trend of improving, rather than a quick spike or drop."

The median price in the luxury market, the highest 10 per cent of all sales, rose 4.1 per cent to US$5.2 million, according to the report. There were 69 transactions at that level in the quarter, compared with 67 a year earlier.

Craig Folise, the co-owner of Resources Trucking, a New Jersey-based international freight company, looked for a holiday home in the Hamptons for seven months before reaching a deal for a property above his original price range. He said he set out to spend US$3 million on a recently built property in the area from Southampton to Water Mill.

"After looking, that was probably too low a number," Folise said.

"We wanted something that we really didn't have to renovate, and what we found was at the price range above that."

His search led him farther east to Bridgehampton, where he paid US$3.64 million for a 7,000 square foot home, built in 2006, with access to a pond where his three children can enjoy paddleboarding, kayaking and fishing.

"I hate to say that I think we got a bit lucky, but that's how I feel," said Folise, who completed the purchase in early June.

"If I continued to look at the market, everything in the area seems to be more money than what I paid."

A separate report from the Corcoran Group showed that luxury sales by dollar volume rose 11 per cent in the second quarter. Susan Breitenbach, a Corcoran broker who worked with Folise, said she has US$200 million in sales and contracts so far this year, on pace to eclipse her typical yearly volume of US$250 million.

Tim Davis, another Corcoran broker, recently sold Wooldon Manor, a 14.5-acre estate in Southampton, in two parcels for a combined US$80 million. The seller was Scott Bommer, president of hedge fund SAB Capital Management, who paid US$75 million for the oceanfront property in December.

Davis said he expects more listings above US$20 million to become available in the next few months.

"There's been a pent-up demand for buying some of the most sought-after homes and properties that could ever be available on the market," Davis said.