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Report: Hamptons sales tumble to lowest level in seven years

The downturn in the Hamptons market reflects what’s going on in Manhattan, where first-quarter sales are at their lowest level in a decade.

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2019
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It’s not all fun in games in NYC’s playground in the Hamptons, where first-quarter sales tumbled to their lowest level in seven years.

According to Douglas Elliman’s first quarter 2019 market report for Long Island, the Hamptons and the North Fork, sales and prices of luxury properties in the East End are taking a beating, while the other parts of the island are faring better. Prices on the North Fork have stabilized and are continuing to rise on Long Island.

The slump in the Hamptons mirrors what’s going on in the Manhattan sales market, which saw the number of first-quarter sales hit the lowest level in a decade.

The number of sales in the Hamptons declined annually for the fifth straight quarter—falling 19.3 percent. However, the share of sales below $1 million was the second highest in five years, the report says, as the market has shifted to favor the lower end. The median sales price fell 5.5 percent to $850,000.

In fact, the first quarter saw the lowest number of sales at or above $10 million in six years, says Carl Benincasa, Elliman’s regional vice president of sales for the Hamptons.

Inventory is up sharply, he says. But now that April 15 has passed, brokers are hopeful consumers have got to grips with how much the new tax law is going to cost them and will get back into the market. “We may see some pent-up demand start to affect sales in the coming quarters,” Benincasa says.

The North Fork continues to be characterized by stable pricing—the median sales price of $606,250 has not shown a year-over-year drop in eight straight quarters. However, the number of sales declined year over year for the third time in four quarters and this quarter was tied for the second lowest number of sales above $2 million in six years.

On Long Island, sales slowed as prices rose. The median sales price increased 4.9 percent to $429,999 and the number of sales slipped marginally by 0.4 percent.

According to the report, there has not been a year-over-year decline in median sales price for 24 consecutive quarters. Houses are not spending much time on the market: The first quarter saw the shortest marketing time in at least 12 years.

Long Island and the North Fork followed similar patterns of steady to rising prices and declining sales, says Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the report.

“Low mortgage rates are helpful but the effects of the federal tax law and property taxes are still holding the market back,” Miller says. “Hopefully, the prolonged period of uncertainty buyers have been facing across the three regions will come to a close in the coming quarters as they become more informed about the impact of pricing with the cap on SALT and property tax exemptions.”