House sales slow in third quarter as prices continue to decline

A waterfront house for sale in Bay View Pines.
A waterfront house for sale in Bay View Pines.

Houses were selling more slowly than expected on the East End in the third quarter of 2013, with more movement at the low end as concern over then possible end of low mortgage rates pushed would-be buyers off the fence, according to data released by real estate agencies this week.

The Elliman Reports for the North and South Forks, prepared by Douglas Elliman Realty, reported this week that the number of sales on the North Fork plummeted 19.6 percent over the third quarter of 2012, with 311 sales, down from 387. They reported the number of sales on the South Fork declined 1.8 percent, to 1,209 from 1,231.

Douglas Elliman reported that median sale price on both the North and South Forks  declined by double digits over the third quarter of 2012, with the median price declining 10.8 percent to $410,000 on the North Fork and declining 16.5 percent to $768,000 on the South Fork.

Douglas Elliman reported that more mid-range houses were selling “in response to the mortgage rate spike last spring.” The Corcoran Group, however, reported that houses on the North Fork in the $350,000 to $500,00 range were outperforming both the high and low end of the spectrum over the third quarter last year, leading the median price to fall even as less low-end inventory was sold.

Douglas Elliman reported that the average discount off the listing price remained unchanged at 7 percent on the North Fork, and increased slightly to 7.9 percent on the South Fork.

Town & Country Real Estate reported the number of homes sold on the South Fork dropped 9 percent, from 278 in the third quarter last year to 252 in the third quarter this year.

Town & Country reported that the number of sales on the North Fork plummeted 37 percent quarter-over-quarter, with just 63 sales in the third quarter of 2013, down from 100 in the third quarter last year.

Each real estate agency defines different geographic areas slightly differently, leading to the disparity in numbers.

The South Fork had noticeable hot spots, according to Town & Country’s CEO, Judi Desiderio, who called Southampton Village “the darling of the third quarter” in her quarterly real estate report. Ms. Desiderio said the median sales price in the village jumped 88 percent in the village to $2.6 million. Meanwhile, she said, East Hampton Village’s median sales priced dropped 44.3 percent to $1.6 million. The number of homes sold in East Hampton Village also dropped from 11 to 4, while Southampton had 17 sales, compared with 18 in the third quarter last year. Town & Country reported that the median price in Sag Harbor also plummeted by 45 percent quarter over quarter, to $700,000, while the number of sales jumped 83 percent to 11.

 They reported that the median home sale price inched up 5 percent in Jamesport, while Mattituck had half the number of sales as last year, with “more interest in the under $500,000 price range, where 15 of the 16 transfers occurred.” In Southold, Town & Country reported that 12 of the 20 transfers in Southold were under $500,000.

“Activity levels in all eight Town & Country offices, along with lots of media hype of a strong home sales market, had me anticipating mostly black but instead, as you can see, red is the dominant color,” said Ms. Desiderio in her report.

The Corcoran Group’s Corcoran Report also showed a significant bump in the high-end market in Southampton Village, and also increased median prices in other hamlets east of the Shinnecock Canal in Southampton Town. Corcoran’s report shows a slight decline in median price in many hamlets in East Hampton Town, with the exception of hipster-happy Montauk, which saw a 21 percent spike in median price to $912,000.

The Corcoran Report shows that sales on the North Fork have actually skewed to the mid-range over the past year. In the third quarter of 2013, they report, 37 percent of homes sold were under $350,000, while just 30 percent were between $350,000 and $500,000. This past quarter, 41 percent of houses sold were in the $350,000 to $500,000 range, while only 28 percent were under $350,000. The above $500,000 range lost market share, with only 17 percent of sales in the higher range, down from 20 percent in the third quarter last year.

The North Fork Elliman Report is available here. The South Fork Elliman Report is available here. The Corcoran Group’s East End report is available here. Town & Country’s North Fork report is available here and their Hamptons report is available here.

Read our second quarter real estate report.

 

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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