Home prices in the Hamptons, the oceanside getaway of celebrities and Wall Street financiers, plummeted in the first quarter as the financial crisis cut demand for vacation properties.
The median price fell 23 percent from a year earlier to $675,000. Sellers offered average discounts of 11 percent off their asking price, up from 9.6 percent in the year-earlier quarter, New York appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and broker Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate said yesterday in a report.
"The primary reason is linkage to Wall Street," said Miller Samuel President Jonathan Miller. "You’ve got job loss, anticipated job loss, as well as lower compensation and anticipated lower compensation. There’s less of an urgency for people who aren’t affected by that to buy."
About 23,300 Wall Street employees lost their jobs in the year through February as banks worldwide posted losses and mortgage-related asset writedowns of $1.3 trillion. The credit crisis that claimed Lehman Brothers Holdings, Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns also pushed bonuses down 44 percent in 2008, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said.
The number of homes for sale in the Hamptons, about 100 miles east of New York City, rose 15 percent to 1,673 properties in the first quarter, the largest year-over-year increase since Miller Samuel began keeping records in 2004.
The Hamptons are known for multimillion-dollar beachfront estates and homeowners there have included comedian Jerry Seinfeld, real estate developer and publisher Mortimer Zuckerman and billionaire Ronald Perelman. The area is comprised of more than a dozen towns and villages including Amagansett, Water Mill, Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor.
Priced to sell
Damon Liss, a Manhattan interior designer and real estate broker for the New York-based Corcoran Group, has been trying to sell a three-bedroom East Hampton cottage since January. Liss renovated the house, added a swimming pool and new oak floors and then listed it for $1.33 million. In April, he cut the price almost 10 percent to 1.2 million.
"The lower the price the more likelihood it’s going to sell," he said.
Motivated sellers will follow, Dottie Herman, chief executive officer of Prudential Douglas Elliman, said in an interview.
"In January and February there was basically nothing going on," Herman said. "There are probably people in the financial sector that really have to cut back."
In the three months ended March 31, transactions declined 54 percent to 145 properties in the Hamptons. Prudential’s data covers the South Fork of Long Island from Westhampton to Montauk.
The drop in sales is the biggest decline since at least 1992, said George Simpson, owner of real estate data company Suffolk Research Service. "It’s not a very happy place out here," Simpson said. The dollar value of all Hamptons transactions in the first quarter plunged 62 percent form a year earlier to $298 million, according Suffolk Research. In the luxury market, the top 10 percent of all sales, the median price slid 25 percent to $4.09 million. The number of sales fell to 20 from 40 in the prior year and there were 470 luxury properties on the market in the first quarter.