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Long Island housing market is popping as median sales price hits record high

A four-bedroom, split-level ranch is on the market in Jericho, NY, for $985,000.

Douglas Elliman

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If you are thinking of leaving New York City and buying on Long Island, you should probably get a move on. Prices in this suburban area—which are significantly lower than NYC—are on the rise and the number of sales is increasing.

Long Island is the fastest moving NYC metro market, according to Douglas Elliman’s third-quarter sales market report for Long Island, Hamptons, and North Fork which noted sales there increased annually for the third time in three quarters. The median sales price also hit a record high of $469,000—and that's a metric that has been climbing for the past 26 straight quarters.

Prices for luxury properties on Long Island, meaning the top 10 percent of all sales prices, represent a small fraction compared to NYC luxury prices. The median sales price for a luxury property on Long Island is $1,122,500, which saw an increase of 4.4 percent—but that median price doesn’t even touch the entry threshold of $3,000,000 for luxury properties in Manhattan.

The number of properties for sale on Long Island was up this quarter, the report said but the total available inventory is at about half the level it was a decade ago, indicating high buyer demand.

The report also drills down into more specific regions. Long Island has two counties, Nassau (which borders Queens) and Suffolk. In general, properties in Nassau are more expensive than Suffolk. Within the counties themselves, you’ll find properties on the North Shore to be higher priced than in the South Shore.

So on Nassau County’s tony North Shore, you can see that the median sales price is $850,00, a drop off 4.1 percent from the year ago quarter. 

“The Long Island marketplace continues to chug along nicely. As the low interest rates balance out the negative effects of SALT, we are also fortunate for the diversity of markets and price points, the healthy job market and the strong local economy, which are all pillars of our vibrant housing market,” says Ann Conroy, president of the Long Island division for Douglas Elliman.

North Fork sales dropped

The North Fork is also seeing strong demand, although sales and prices dropped in the third quarter. The North Fork had a greater slice of East End sales compared to the Hamptons—the second-largest share seen in more than 11 years. 

The median sales priced declined for the first time in 10 quarters, a drop of 1.9 percent to $626,000. The number of sales decreased 21.6 percent to $745,602, and the number of sales over $2 million fell dramatically from the record set in the year-ago quarter.

The luxury median sales price fell annually for the third time in four quarters, a drop of 15.3 percent to $1,525,000.

Listing inventory also increased year-over-year for the fourth straight quarter.

“While the median sales price for North Fork declined this quarter, that followed a significant streak of gains,” says Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the reports. “The market remains faster than the average pace for the past decade which is an encouraging sign. This region overall has been very positively affected by dropping mortgage rates, so I think we will continue to see strong results on Long Island.” 

Hamptons price uptick

The Hamptons is still suffering from the impact of the SALT tax deduction cap, the report says, which is slowing sales and causing a steady increase in inventory. However, the scenario is partially offset by the drop in mortgage rates and sellers' increasing willingness to negotiate. As a result, the median sales price increased slightly, 0.8 percent to $857,000, the first increase after seven quarters of declines.

The median sales price for luxury properties fell sharply, dropping 41.7 percent to $3,500,000 compared to a year ago.

“Right now in the Hamptons, it's all about pricing—at every level,” said Todd Bourgard, Douglas Elliman’s senior executive regional manager of sales for the Hamptons. “Smart sellers are starting to understand that if they price a property properly, it will sell faster. As a result, we are extremely busy right now, and seeing a dramatic leap in multiple buyers on a single property, presenting full price offers or even above.”