Sales Rose but Prices Dropped

   Is the glass half empty or half full? Reports presented from Suffolk Research Service and one of the East End’s real estate firms offer a nebulous view of whether the market is on the rise or still bouncing along the bottom.
    Although there was some improvement from the third quarter of 2011 to the final quarter, there was little to no improvement over all over the fourth quarter of 2010, according to George R. Simpson, the president of Suffolk Research Service.
    And even though both 2010 and 2011 showed improvements over 2008 and 2009, when median price, unit sales, and dollar sales are taken into account, data show a paradoxical “stationary trend” over the past two years.
    Median price changes were up in Southampton, down in East Hampton for the year 2011 compared to 2010, according to Mr. Simpson. Southampton showed a rise, up 8.1 percent, with East Hampton down 9.1 percent.
    A fourth-quarter comparison showed that in all market price segments, sales declined, except in properties priced from $5 million to $10 million, which showed an increase from 61 sales in 2010 to 70 sales in 2011.
    Town and Country, a local firm, also released a sales report, which stated that in all Hampton markets combined the number of home sales increased 9.43 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 versus the fourth quarter of 2010. However the median home sales price dropped 16.22 percent over all for the same period, from $940,000 to $787,500.
    Sag Harbor and Noyac showed the highest increase in sales, according to Town and Country, from 15 in the fourth quarter 2010 to 28 in the fourth quarter 2011, an 87-percent increase. Once again though, the median home sales price in the same period dropped almost 30 percent.
    When looking at 2011 as a whole, Town and Country reports that 4 of the 11 markets rose in number of home sales over 2010, one (Sag Harbor) stayed the same, and seven saw a decline. According to the company, Bridgehampton had the best year, with increases in all three criteria: total home sales volume (26-percent increase), median home sales price (13-percent increase), and number of home sales, which rose from 163 to 172.
    Other real estate companies have embargoed their numbers until a later date.