The local housing market is finally showing signs of life.
Real estate firm owners in Miller Place and Rocky Point said home sales in the local area have taken a leap recently, thanks, in part, to ultra-low prices and anxious first-time homebuyers.
Cheap houses in Sound Beach and some areas of Rocky Point are selling in as little as 60 days, real estate experts said, and even short sales are moving faster and getting easier to facilitate.
Isabel Lapadula, owner of Bel Breeze Real Estate in Miller Place, said her firm saw a jump in activity in December, with both the number of buyers looking for homes and the number of actual sales increasing.
"I would definitely say the market is moving," Lapadula said. "The interest rates went up a little and that prompted people to make a decision because of concern for them jumping even more."
Linda Albo, owner of Albo Real Estate in Rocky Point, said there's a lot of demand for homes priced under $300,000 in the area. "The market's started to bounce back," she added.
According to the Multiple Listing Service, there are almost 150 homes listed for less than $300,000 in Miller Place, Sound Beach and Rocky Point, with some prices as low as $125,000.
Doreen Side, owner of Majestic Manors Realty in Miller Place, said she's also seen a rise in activity in the lower price range, especially with first-time homebuyers, a growing trend for the area.
"We're really doing well with first-time homebuyers," she said. "They were always looking here, but have recently been getting out there more."
Albo, who said her fourth-quarter business topped last year's numbers, added it's not just the area's cheap housing that attracts young couples to the market.
"I can't stress the quality of the schools enough," she said. "People are really becoming appreciative of this area. It's an affordable jewel."
But for all the activity with the lower-priced homes, experts said houses listed at more than $400,000 are still slow to sell.
Albo said the larger homes are also still coming down in price since there are so many on the market competing against each other. She added, though, that overall, housing prices have started to stabilize.
Real estate firm owners said they're also seeing increased activity from investors in the local housing market. With prices so low, many are swooping in and scooping up foreclosures and short sales at a bargain.
Side said short sales are now taking just three to four months to complete, while they were dragging on for eight to nine months during the market collapse. She added banks are being more cooperative with both short and regular home sales.
"Two years ago, people were dropping out of real estate like crazy," Side said. "Now it's a buyers market and if you know how to do it, this is the time."