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Suburban Home Sales Soar in the New York Region

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On the South Shore of Long Island, there’s about a month’s supply of available homes, or even less, in some areas, agents say. “We would normally have five to six months’ worth at any one time,” said Seth Pitlake, an agent at Douglas Elliman in Merrick. “It’s not that inventory is not increasing,” he said, “it’s just that anything that comes out in the market is being scooped up.”

Mr. Pitlake’s clients, Tom and Alicia Monforte, both in their early 30s, witnessed these tight conditions as both seller and buyer. Their Great Neck co-op sold in a week, but when they began searching for a larger property farther east, in Bellmore, they found themselves in a crowded field of purchasers.

“We would put in an offer only to find out someone else offered $40,000 over the asking price,” said Ms. Monforte, a clinical social worker, adding that “every free moment was devoted to looking.”

The couple recently found a house at the end of a long day of hunting. “It was the last house we looked at out of seven,” Ms. Monforte said. The home — a 2,200-square-foot, five-bedroom high ranch with a $649,000 price tag — had just been re-listed after a previous deal fell through. “After five minutes we knew,” she said, “and in two hours we put in an offer for the full ask that was accepted.”

Similar scenarios of stiff competition are playing out on the North Shore. Mr. Pitlake’s Roslyn colleague at Douglas Elliman, Maria Babaev, who specializes in the so-called Gold Coast, recently listed a five-bedroom, split-level in Roslyn Pines that “needs lots of work.”

In just one showing, she said, “I had 27 groups of buyers coming in and received eight offers, three above asking.” The winning bid: 10 percent above the $999,000 list price. Ms. Babaev said more expensive homes were selling faster than usual, though she was quick to add that all property types needed to be competitively priced to garner any interest.

And what do buyers want? “They want green space,” said James Gavin, an agent with Laffey Real Estate in Manhasset, “and a lot are asking for a home office and then a pool.”

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