Real Estate

This NY area is even hotter than the Hamptons

Power House: NYC
Power House: NYC

Home sales on New York's Long Island took a huge leap in the last three months, just not in the toney, talked-about Hamptons.

Sales in the other less-known, less-pricey areas on the island jumped 46 percent from the second to third quarter of this year and are 13 percent higher than a year ago, Jonathan Miller said in a report for Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Sales in mid island are now at the highest level since 2003.

The median home price on closer-in Long Island was $390,000, up 2.6 percent from a year ago. Compare that to the median Hamptons price of $950,000.

"It's surprisingly strong," said Miller. "What we're seeing in the suburbs is that this price point seems to be a sweet spot in consumer demand."

The area between the Hamptons and New York City had been in a slump, even as its neighbors recovered strongly. Now inventory is down 6 percent from a year ago, and homes are selling in an average 93 days, compared with 114 a year ago.

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"That segment of the market is on fire," said Mickey Conlon, a real estate agent with Douglas Elliman, who deems this area the "meat" in the sandwich. "There has been a lot of trepidation, but the fact is interest rates have remained low and demand has been pent up."

The only remaining drag is on the luxury end. Sales there have still not caught up, likely because higher-end buyers are still heading farther out to the Hamptons. Still, the regional economy is improving, and like anywhere else, that should keep sales higher even going into the slower sales season.

Meanwhile, sales in the Hamptons dropped a stunning 20 percent in the third quarter from a year ago. The reason is not so much weakness, but comparisons. 2013 and 2014 saw record Hamptons sales. The same has been true of Manhattan.

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"The Hamptons are joined at the hip with Manhattan. The market appears to be resetting to a lower level, which is still well above long-term averages," Miller said. The market is not weakening, it's just changing from frenzied to hectic."