During the eight months so far of 2011, real estate sales in East Hampton Town suffered a decline in terms of dollars of more than 26 percent from the same period last year. This is bad news for many people who make a living here, even if they aren’t licensed brokers.
Looking at the sales of single-family houses during that period, the fall-off was worse — as much as 35 percent. Though the median price rose slightly, the number of residential sales dropped sharply, from 226 in 2010 to 147 this year, according to numbers from Suffolk Research Service, a private firm.
People in the trades and whose livelihoods are tied directly or indirectly to the sale of land and houses here have certainly felt the decline. Real estate is the Town of East Hampton’s single largest generator of economic activity, far outpacing education, local government, fishing, and the media. As house sales go, so goes Main Street, well, maybe Main Street before the pop-up shops arrived. The market will turn some day. How soon is anybody’s guess.