By: Abigail Mago, Licensed Associate Broker

I think it’s safe to say that 2020 has been a wild year for everyone. Despite the economic chaos brought on by the pandemic, the Fire Island real estate market has flourished this year. While we won’t have a complete data set to analyze the full year’s performance until roughly February 2021, recorded sales so far indicate strong market growth in 2020. The average recorded sale price for all of Fire Island so far this year is $909,881. That’s a 10.9% increase from 2019’s average sale price of $820,381, and just above the highest average sale price of all-time which was $907,042 in 2018. While the average sale price is a very useful metric, it can be heavily skewed by any outliers, so it is also helpful to look at the median sale price. While Fire Island’s 2019 median sale price was $750,000, 2020’s median so far is $800,000, which represents a 6.7% increase.

There are a number of factors at play that are contributing to the strength of the market. Covid-19 has caused a large demand spike from city dwellers who are looking to escape to less dense places. Even though Fire Island is not traditionally thought of as a year-round destination, we are seeing many families still utilizing their homes late into the Fall season and planning to stay through the Winter months. Year-round usability was not previously a request made by many buyers, but in the current climate that has become a sought-after amenity.

Another major factor is that with the stock market back near all-time highs, many buyers are looking to real estate as an alternative home for their capital. Those with excess cash are weary of investing their money in what could be the top of the equities market, and many who are already invested have decided to cash out some of their stock portfolios, lock in their gains, and put that money into real estate. As an asset you can enjoy, beach houses are at the top of many savvy investors’ wish lists.

The final major factor at play is obscenely low interest rates. With mortgage rates currently in the mid 2’s, it almost feels as though the bank is paying you to buy a beach house. All of these factors acting at once are creating the perfect storm for an extremely strong market. With such robust buyer activity, inventory is rapidly shrinking, and I believe we are poised for another price jump.

By: Abigail Medvin Mago

So far, things have been looking up for the Fire Island real estate market in 2018.  There have been 30 sales transactions recorded island wide, year to date.  Because there is a recording lag of up to 90 days for sale data to come through to public sale record, this data consists mainly of sales that closed during the first quarter of 2018.  At 30 transactions closed year to date, that puts transaction volume on pace for approximately 120 sales this year.  In an average year, Fire Island sees 99 homes sell, indicating that the strong market we've been experiencing over the past few years appears to be continuing into 2018.

The average Fire Island year to date sale price is $925,853, which is up 16% from 2017's average sale price of $797,947.  The median sale price is $804,250, which is up 6% from 2017's median price of $760,000.  The high end of the market has been performing much better in 2018 than it did in 2017.  While the overall market was strong in 2017, the high end of the market was unusually inactive, with no homes trading over the $2 million mark.  2018 is already ahead of last year, with the highest price paid for a home so far coming in at $2,390,000, which is nearly 30% higher than 2017's high price paid of $1,850,000.

Curious as to how the market is performing in your town? See the table below for a town by town breakdown of the year to date 2018 average sale price as compared to 2017.