The Higher End Moves

Although the number of home sales fell, average prices rose

The real estate industry began 2018 on a cautiously optimistic note. “We didn’t have a wildly robust first quarter, but we’re heading in the right direction,” said Aspasia Comnas, the executive diretor at Brown Harris Stevens of the Hamptons.

Although the number of home sales fell, average prices rose. That means “the transactions that did occur were at the higher end of the market, but there were fewer transactions over all,” Ernest Cervi, senior vice president at the Corcoran Group, said. Mr. Cervi attributed the slide to three main factors: wild volatility in the financial markets, the tax-reform bill, which, he said, no one understood, and the weather. The four northeasters, he said, impacted the market tremendously.

Douglas Elliman’s first-quarter report noted that the decline in sales came after four consecutive quarters of increases. The high end of the market, however, was as robust as ever. There were 37 sales at or above $5 million, according to the Douglas Elliman analysis. That was a 37-percent increase over last year. 

East Hampton led the way in overall sales in comparison to Southampton, according to Brown Harris Stevens’s numbers, with a combined total of 88 homes sold in the town and village. That was nearly 20 percent more than in the Southampton area, which notched 71 sales. Bridgehampton also posted strong numbers, 19 houses were sold in the hamlet this past quarter, almost doubling the number sold during the same period last year. Furthermore, Town and Country reported that the combined total of home sales in Bridgehampton, Sagaponack, and Water Mill — which amounted to nearly $167 million — was larger than any other segment of the Hamptons market.