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August 28, 2013

Real Estate Recovery Continues


Sometimes real estate brokers let their natural exuberance overstate market conditions, but this time around no sugar coating is necessary -- the numbers don't lie.

There is no mistaking the upward trend we are experiencing on the East End, on Long Island, and even nationally.

The market is recovering from the 2007-08 doldrums, and the upturn through the second quarter of this year is now tangible.

And though a glut of properties remains on the market – keeping prices sluggish – inventory is slowly falling, an indicator that a seller's market may be on the horizon, though not the immediate horizon.

Sales in Manhattan, oftentimes a precursor to East End real estate trends, are on fire. According to The Real Deal, sales of co-ops and condos in the second quarter surged 28 percent over the same time period year earlier.

According to a report furnished by Corcoran's Jason Schommer, land sales and new construction are picking up locally, and sales in Montauk in particular are surging.

The Real Deal's Hayley Kaplan reports sales in the Hamptons are up over 25 percent from last year's second quarter numbers. More important, listing inventory is down 12 percent.

Sales are particularly active in the $1 to $4 million range, and extreme bargains – under $400,000 – that were fairly prevalent a year ago are drying up quickly. That is not to say there aren't bargains to be had. In Amagansett, the largest ticket punched in the second quarter was 88 Indian Wells Highway, which sold for $7.5 million, a cool two mil below the original asking price.

In general, the Wall Street Journal confirmed what the numbers show: the luxury market actually experienced a decrease of 10 percent in the second quarter. That number may well be deceiving, though – a number of high ticket properties transferred at the end of 2012 to avoid paying increased real estate taxes, thus likely skewing the figures.

In Bridgehampton, parcels of land at 683 and 699 Ocean Road sold for a combined $28.5 million, Schommer reported. A residence at 157 Jobs Lane, listed at $10.95 million, sold for $10.1 million.

Surprisingly, there were scores of sales for under $1 million in East Hampton; including two for under $300,000 and another for $375,000. Only one property transferred in the eight-figure range: 41 Apaquoque Road, for $11.2 million. Pricey Sagaponack was the scene of a $24 million sale, at 39 Fairfield Pond Lane.

An estate at 320 Murray Place in Southampton changed hands for $25 million.

According to the Elliman Report, the median sale price for the second quarter, $920,000, rose 8.2 percent from the previous year.

The National Board of Realtors report a noticeable upswing in real estate sales, especially recently. Existing home sales rose 6.5 percent in July from a year earlier, and median prices have enjoyed a double digit increase for seven consecutive months.

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