(Bloomberg) -- Home prices soared to a record in New York’s Hamptons and sales rose year-over-year for the first time in 10 quarters.

Properties in the Long Island beach towns changed hands at a median of $1.85 million in the three months through December, up 45% from the fourth quarter of 2022 and more than double pre-pandemic levels, appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate reported Thursday. Purchases climbed 8.8% to 273. 

Competition is heating up again in the Hamptons after an extended lull — which in itself followed a Covid-era buying frenzy that had picked the market clean. The decline in mortgage rates toward the end of last year helped pushed some fence-sitters to think more seriously about committing to a purchase.

“When we have a house that is priced properly, we are finding that we have far more buyers than we do sellers,” said Todd Bourgard, Elliman’s chief executive officer for Long Island. “We’re seeing multiple bidding situations.”

Almost 25% of deals in the quarter came after bidding wars, up from about a 19% share in the third quarter and a year earlier, the firms said. 

Buyers deciding to take the plunge would find more homes for sale in the Hamptons than there had been in recent quarters. At the end of the year, 1,026 properties were on the market, up 15% from a year earlier and the fourth straight annual increase in listing inventory. 

But that’s still low from a historical perspective — about half of pre-pandemic levels — leading to the jump in prices, according to Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. City-dwellers sitting on stock gains also may have been emboldened to bid high. A fifth of sales in the last three months of the year closed at $5 million or more, Miller said. 

“Manhattan is very much a part of the Hamptons landscape,” he said, “and Wall Street had a good year.”

In the luxury tier — the most expensive 10% of transactions, which in the quarter meant $7.3 million and above  — the median sale price jumped 87% from a year earlier to $12.6 million, the firms said. Luxury listing inventory rose 51% to 554. 

Sales on Long Island’s North Fork also rose in the fourth quarter, climbing 17% from a year earlier to 120. The median price in the area, often seen as a less-costly alternative to the Hamptons, fell 2.1% to $974,250 but remained significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels, the firms said.

(Updates with North Fork sales in final paragraph.)

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