Home Prices Soar 40 Percent in the Hamptons

Summer places in the Hamptons are back in style for New Yorkers, apparently, as home values there soared in the first three months of the year. According to a report issued this week by Douglas Eilman and Miller Samuel, Hampton area brokers, the average home price for Hampton area homes was $1.7 million, a staggering 40 percent jump from the first quarter of 2013. The median sales price rose just under 20 percent to $880,000, and the number of sales soared by 52 percent. All three increases represent the biggest year-over-year gains in Hampton real estate history.

Thanks to pop culture, the Hamptons are widely known as a summer retreat for wealthy New Yorkers, and real estate prices have always reflected that. The numbers from the first quarter, however, suggest a surge in the popularity of the area as a vacation home for the elite. The increased first-quarter activity in the Hamptons included deals for luxurious mansions sold for $31.5 million and $20 million, helping push the average price higher. The increase in sales, meanwhile, stands in stark contrast to most markets around the US. The majority of the nation is still waiting for the usual spring home shopping season to get rolling.

The Hamptons’ first quarter sales surge is also surprising because the stock market was essentially flat during the period. Historically, the bulk of housing booms in the area have coincided with periods of quick stock market gains. The fact that the Hampton housing sector jumped without stocks gaining illustrates the changing demographics of Hampton homeowners. In the past, the majority of the people owning homes in the Hamptons have been Wall Street brokers or bankers, thus booms generally happened following sharp gains. Now it seems as if the pool of buyers is diversifying, and the area is attracting buyers from other financial sectors, like hedge fund managers. There has also been an influx in recent months of international buyers.