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Hamptons home prices rising as luxury beach houses lure buyers

Home prices in New York’s Hamptons, the Long Island ocean-side retreat for summering Manhattanites, increased almost 12 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier as the most expensive properties attracted buyers.

The median price of homes that sold in the quarter climbed to US$780,000 from $699,000 a year earlier even as total sales declined, according to a report released by New York appraiser Miller Samuel and broker Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate on April 26. The median for luxury homes in the Hamptons and Long Island’s North Fork, defined as the top 10pc of all sales, increased 3.8pc to $4.78 million.

The high-end market is showing stability as employment improves and foreign investors seek beachside real estate as a place to park cash, said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. New York City’s financial industry had a net gain of 6700 jobs in the 12 months through March, according to the state Department of Labor. The city’s jobless rate was 9.8pc that month, down from 10.2pc in February.

“The big boys are comfortable parting with money again,” said Judi Desiderio, president of Town & Country Real Estate, which released a report this month showing that the dollar value of Hamptons homes that changed hands in the quarter jumped 30pc to $394.4 million.

Sales of Hamptons and North Fork luxury properties, which this quarter includes homes priced at $3.4 million or higher, increased to 38 deals from 37 a year earlier, according to the Miller Samuel and Prudential report. Total Hamptons home sales fell 7.1pc to 287 transactions.

The median home price in the Hamptons fell to as low as $675,000 in the first quarter of 2009, when demand plunged in the aftermath of Lehman Brothers’s bankruptcy. It rose to a post-recession high of $937,000 in the second quarter of 2011.

“Prices aren’t rising rapidly, we’re just seeing strength at the upper end,” Miller said. “You have a steady diet of high-end property being absorbed.”

The most expensive property to change hands in the first quarter was a 9000-square foot (836-square-metre), six-bedroom oceanfront house at 322 Meadow Lane in Southampton, which sold for $28.5 million in February after almost three-and-a-half years on the market, according to Miller and Streeteasy.com, a property-listing website. The final price was a 16pc reduction from what the owner last sought, according to Streeteasy.

Brown Harris, which also released a report on April 26, said the median price of sold homes in the Hamptons climbed 5pc to $815,000. The Corcoran Group, another New York brokerage with offices in the Hamptons, reported that prices declined 5pc from a year earlier to $821,000.

Hamptons homes took 6pc more time to sell in the quarter than they did a year earlier, averaging 177 days on the market, according to Miller Samuel and Prudential. Luxury homes spent an average of 122 days on the market, 15pc less time than they did a year ago. – Bloomberg

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