Sales down 41 percent annually; North Fork suffers too; but prices up south of Route 27

Did somebody say symbiosis? At a time when Manhattan dwellers struggle with lackluster year-end bonuses and job losses, the Hamptons has suffered its own crisis: one of real estate, the East End playground’s great arbiter.

A new Miller Samuel and Prudential Douglas Elliman report shows home sales off annually over 41 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008; the median sales price is down, too. And listing inventory’s up! By over 11 percent! Few Hamptons homes are selling, in short, and, while these aren’t hard and fast rules, one can only connect some of Manhattan’s housing misery with that of the East End (the North Fork had a rough go of it in the fourth quarter as well).

Still, the report covers deals closed in the last three months of 2008, and, therefore, probably negotiated months beforehand. That is, the deals pre-date the financial crisis sparked by Lehman’s collapse in mid-September; and, ipso facto, the Hamptons could be in a lot worse shape than these numbers show. Stay tuned!
by Oliver Haydock and Tom Acitelli, Jan 27, 2009, New York Observer

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