Prepared By: Abigail Mago, Licensed Associate Broker
Overall the Fire Island real estate market performed well in 2016. While the number of sales fell slightly from 131 in 2015 to 129 in 2016, the average sale price increased 12% from $713,525 in 2015 to $801,789 in 2016. I began collecting market data in 2006, and since that time the average number of home sales that take place island wide each year is 93. With 129 home sales in 2016, that represents a 39% increase above an average year in the preceding 11-year data collection period. To put the average sale price in historical context, the 2016 island-wide average sale price of $801,789 is 3% above the 11-year average of $777,113. The highest price paid for a home on the island in 2016 was $3,600,000, a 15% increase above the highest price paid for a Fire Island home in 2015, and the highest price ever paid, since I began data collection in 2006.
To put the 2016 market data into perspective, it is helpful to look at sales figures relative to the entire period of data collection in addition to comparing to the previous year’s performance. The following graphs illustrate the average island wide sale price and the number of sales by year since 2016.
Town by Town Analysis
In addition to looking at the island’s overall market performance, it is useful to examine the data on a town by town basis.
The lion’s share of the island’s 129 sales took place in Ocean Beach, with 36 homes changing hands in 2016. That represents a 50% increase over Ocean Beach transaction volume in 2015. Since 2006, the village has seen 18 homes sell per year on average. 2016 saw double the number of Ocean Beach sales than a typical year. While the tendency may be to focus on price, sales transaction volume is an important indicator of market health. I think this brisk pace of sales and the resulting diminished inventory will lead to continued rising prices.
As one might expect in light of the incredible pace of sales, Ocean Beach sale prices were also up in 2016. The average Ocean Beach sale price in 2016 was $648,096 which is a 10% increase over the 2015 average and nearly equivalent to the 11-year average sale price. The highest price paid for a home in Ocean Beach in 2016 was $1,646,250, which is up 8% from 2015’s high price of $1,525,000.
Seaview is traditionally one of the hottest communities on Fire Island, but the 2016 sales data was far less impressive than in recent years. Only 10 Seaview homes traded hands in 2016, as compared to 17 in 2015 which represents a 41% decline in year over year sales transaction volume. However, when comparing to the past 11 year average of 9 sales per year, 10 home sales is not atypical.
The average sale price also declined by a significant margin, specifically 16%. The average 2016 sale price was $857,100, as compared to 2015’s average of $1,016835. The 2016 average sale price was 20% lower than the past 11-year average. The most expensive home sale in Seaview in 2016 was $1,540,000, which is less than half the price of the most expensive home sold in 2015, and 24% below the 11 year average high price of $2,026,500. It is rare to see a year where nothing in Seaview trades above the $2 million mark. More likely than not, this is not reflective of a true drop in value but rather is due to the fact that no high value homes were available for sale and did not happen to have traded in 2016.
OCEAN BAY PARK
This year was one for the books in Ocean Bay Park, with the average sale price increasing by a whopping 48% over 2015. Sales volume did decline a bit from 2015 which saw 17 sales as compared to 2016’s 14, but overall the OBP market continued its hot streak. A large chunk of the sales volume was driven by condemnation of oceanfront properties as a result of the dune restoration project. This definitely contributed to an upward skewing of the data since the proportion of oceanfront homes (which naturally command a large premium relative to inland properties) sold in 2016 was so much greater than in a typical year. Even setting the condemnation sales aside, the Ocean Bay Park market was strong. Excluding oceanfront sales, OBP's 2016 average sale price was $602,600, a 12.6% increase over 2015.
Only one home sold in the summer club in 2016 as compared to 5 homes in 2015. The average sale price of $950,000 is up significantly from 2015’s average sale price of $535,234, which is misleadingly low due to the fact that 3 out of the 5 sales that took place in 2015 were of vacant land.
Two homes sold in Corneille Estates in 2016, as compared to only one sale in 2015. The average sale price was $742,500 which is 16% higher than the average sale price over the past 11 years of $641,464.
One home sold in Robbins Rest in 2016, as compared to 3 sales in 2015. While volume of transactions may have been less than in a typical year, the sale price was $1,700,000 which was a 136% increase over the 2015 average sale price of $719,000, and more than double the 11-year average sale price of $812,875.
Kismet saw a tremendous increase in sales transactions with 7 homes selling in 2016 as compared to only 3 homes in 2015. This represents a 133% year over year change. The average sale price also increased, going from $542,333 in 2015 to $636,429 in 2016, a 17% increase.
Saltaire also had an extraordinarily strong year, with 11 homes selling at an average price of $1,322,976. 2015’s average sale price was $897,438, which is 47% lower. Over the last 11 years, the average sale price was $966,830 which is 37% less than the 2016 average. While several of the homes that traded were above the $1 million mark, the average was driven up by a single $3,600,000 sale which is the highest price sale that has occurred on Fire Island since I began data collection in 2006.
While the volume of sales in Fair Harbor declined from 8 in 2015 to 6 in 2016, the average sale price jumped up 25% from $562,875 in 2015 to $701,917 in 2016. That represents a 7% premium over the 11-year average of $657,898. The highest price paid for a home in Fair Harbor in 2016 was $960,000 which was 7% higher than the 2015 high price of $900,000.
Dunewood saw only one home sale in both 2016 and 2015, wheras a typical year sees 2 home sales. The home that sold in 2016 sold for $850,000, which is a 75% increase over the 2015 home sale price of $485,000 and a 5% increase over the 11-year average price of $805,846.
Atlantique was one of the few towns that saw declines both in terms of sales volume and price. Only 1 Atlantique home sold in 2016, for a price of $335,000. That represents a 47% decline from 2015’s average sale price of $630,833 and a 43% discount off of the 11-year average sale price of $590,104.
Cherry Grove sales volumes were down 29% in 2016, with the number of sales falling from 14 sales in 2015 to 10 sales in 2016. Even though year over year transaction volume declined, a typical year sees 8 sales, so 2016 transaction volume was still 22% above that of an average year. The average sale price was almost flat, going from $508,601 in 2015 to $507,205 in 2016, which is 3% lower than the 11-year average of $525,253.
FIRE ISLAND PINES
The Pines market saw solid gains in 2016 relative to 2015. In terms of sales transaction volume, 24 homes sold in 2016, as compared to 23 in 2015 and an 11-year average of 18 sales per year. The average sale price was up 7% from $898,707 in 2015 to $965,669 in 2016. The highest price paid for a home in the Pines in 2016 was $3,070,000 which was 62% higher than 2015’s high price of $1,900,000 and 35% higher than the 11-year average high price paid of $2,278,136.
Only one home sold in Water Island in 2016, for a sale price of $1,555,000. In 2015, 3 Water Island homes were sold, for an average sale price of $983,333. The 11-year average sale price was $1,053,942.
Sales transaction volume in Davis Park was up 300%, going from only one sale in 2015 to 4 sales in 2016. The average sale price rose by 30% from $400,000 in 2015 to $521,250 in 2016. The highest price paid for a home in Davis Park in 2016 was $640,000 which was a 60% increase over the previous year, but 9% lower than the average highest price paid in the preceding 10 years.
Because the Fire Island real estate market does not function like a traditional real estate market with a centralized multiple listing service, reliable market data is not readily available to the public. Going forward, I will be publishing annual market reports like this one in an effort to address that. Both buyers and sellers are served by being fully informed about the market in which they are considering transacting. Please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if I can provide any further information, or if I can be of help to you in the sale or purchase of your Fire Island home.
Please note that all information herein is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. The information is sourced from public real estate transaction records. Sales data reporting has a lag of approximately 90 days. Due to this lag, there may be some outstanding sales that closed late in 2016 but have not yet been reported as of the date of this posting and are therefore not reflected in this report.