GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (Associated Press) - Wall Street's elite are once again splurging on multi-million-dollar estates in the Hamptons -- Long Island's summer playground for the ultrarich -- where sales have more than doubled over the past year.
In a report released Thursday, Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate found home sales in the Hamptons in the first quarter of this year were up 173 percent over the same quarter in 2009. The agency also found that the median sales price on the 396 homes sold rose almost 35 percent to $908,500 from the same period a year ago.
For homes priced in the top 10 percent of the market, the median sales price increased about 34 percent from the same period a year ago to $5.48 million.
''It's as active in the Hamptons as I have ever seen,'' said Alan Schnurman, a high-end real estate developer. ''It has to be because of Wall Street. You have these young billionaire hedge fund managers who all want to buy.''
The stock market has been rising for 13 months and Schnurman pointed to a Goldman Sachs' earnings report this week that showed a $3.3 billion profit in the first quarter.
''The money is there and they are spending it,'' said Schnurman, who said he recently sold a home to a hedge fund manager from London who paid $4.5 million.
Prudential Douglas Elliman found that homes closer to the Atlantic were fetching the highest prices. Its report found an 86 percent quarterly increase in the sales price of homes south of Montauk Highway -- the area's main east-west route -- to a median of $1.19 million.
There were 28 homes that sold for $5 million or more, up from seven in the year-ago quarter.