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Market Reports: Good News and Bad News, But Luxury Rules

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Prudential Douglas Elliman's third quarter report is out, and although trouble remains, the Hamptons seems to be experiencing an ever-so-slight upswing from Q2 and the same period last year. Hold the celebration. The good news: average sales price has inched up 2.2% since Q3 2008, and the number of sales have rebounded by 31.9%. The bad news: median sales price is slightly off, and the terrible trifecta of listing days, listing discount and inventory are all on the rise. Nothing new, but it doesn't confirm rumors that the East End is out of the woods just yet. Notably, North of the Highway homes took a number of hits, but South of the Highway seems to have retaken its rightful place ahead of the pack. Median sales price doubled from Q2, and took a sizable 67.3% leap from last year. The report states that 'after several quarters, with the number of sales falling sharply below trend, there was a surge in sales of high end properties causing the jump in median sales price to be a reflection of the change in property mix rather than a price trend'.

In the luxury sector (North Fork included), the summer led to increases, with average and median sales prices up from the previous quarter. The number of sales was encouraging as well, as 46 homes sold compared with last year's 35. Luxury inventory dropped significantly, down 24.8% from 2008 and off 47.1% from Q2. Village-by-village, Southampton assumed Wainscott's top spot, moving 6 high-end homes at an average of $9.075 million this quarter. Joining the top 5 ranks is Montauk, which moved 2 homes for an average $5 million per sale. The report also states that were 20 sales at or above a $5 million threshold this quarter, which is a notable increase from Q2's 14 sales and the 17 during the same period last year. As for predictions, Prudential chief executive Dottie Herman told the WSJ that 'everyone's pretty confident we hit bottom', while graph guru (and report preparer) Jonathan Miller revealed that cash is the way to go, with half of the recent East End deals closing as mortgage-less transactions.
· Hamptons North Fork Market Overview Q3 09 [Elliman]
· More Signs of Life in the Hamptons [WSJ]