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Hamptons home sales begin cooling after summer’s frenetic pace

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Home sales in the Hamptons, the ritzy New York getaway for Wall Street titans and Hollywood celebrities, showed beginning signs of cooling off in September after a pandemic-induced boom during the summer months.

Signed contracts to purchase single-family homes rose 76% in September from a year ago as wealthy New Yorkers sought refuge from COVID-19. That’s slower than the 109% annual increase in August and 121% gain in July, according to a report on Friday by Douglas Elliman Real Estate and Miller Samuel, a New York appraiser.

There were declines in signed contracts in the extreme edges of the market last month: homes priced under $500,000 dropped 55% compared with a year earlier and the number of contracts on homes priced over $20 million fell 60%.

Contracts on homes priced $500,000 to $999,000 fell 1.7% from a year ago, compared with an 11% gain from a year earlier in August.

September’s sweet spot was in the $4 million to $4.99 million range, which saw a gain of 240% from a year ago, according to the report. In August, the gain in that price category was 340% from a year earlier.

Homes priced $2 million to $3.99 million in September saw a 213% gain in signed contracts from a year earlier, slower than the 270% gain in August, and contracts for homes priced $10 million to $19.99 million increased 200%, compared with a gain of 150% in August.

New Yorkers began fleeing to less-dense areas when the nation’s most populous city became the center of the COVID-19 pandemic in April, with many opting for vacation homes in getaway spots like the Hamptons, on the eastern tip of Long Island.

New York City has registered 249,000 COVID-19 infections, about 3.5% of the 7.3 million cases in the U.S., and has lost 23,829 people to the disease, 12% of the nation’s 207,791 fatalities, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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