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The ‘$lam’ptons

There’s house trouble on the East End of Long Island.

Five years after the housing bubble burst, the number of unsold Hamptons homes has hit a 30-year high while prices have plummeted.

A stunning 48 homes worth more than $1 million are in foreclosure, according to the industry monitor PropertyShark.com.

They include some Gatsby-esque mansions, like a $4.9 million, three-story property on 2.1 acres in Westhampton Beach with seven bedrooms, 5 1/2 baths, guest cottage, tennis court, cabana and bayside pool.

“Yes, even the upper end of the East End housing market is not immune from foreclosures,” said industry analyst Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel Inc. “Despite being one of the better US housing markets, the New York City region is also grappling with distressed real estate.”

More than 1,000 Hamptons homes are in distress, meaning they’re in foreclosure or a pre-foreclosure stage, according to PropertyShark.

Some industry authorities blame the Hamptons market on homeowners pushing up prices unrealistically, as they did in other distressed housing markets.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s Las Vegas, Arizona or the Hamptons when a home is overleveraged,” said Corcoran Group CEO Pam Liebman.

“Even though the Hamptons is known as a playground for the wealthy, it doesn’t mean that it is immune to buyers who over-leveraged their homes and are now suffering the consequences,” she said.

Miller said the consensus of Hampton market-watchers is that prices will likely continue to drop for the next couple of years.

One result is that instead of the gotta-getta-mansion market of the past, home buyers are looking for sub-$1-million sales.

The median price of a single-family East End home was a mere $842,500 in the last quarter of 2011. That’s down 13 percent from the comparable period a year before, the firm Brown Harris Stevens said.

Seventy percent of all East Hampton homes sold during the last quarter went for under $1 million, up from 56 percent in 2010, according to the firm.

The homes that aren’t selling are the ones that are overpriced, according to one view.

“It doesn’t help that there are currently too many homes in the Hamptons that are still on the market because the owners have unrealistic price expectations,” Liebman said.

Dottie Herman, CEO of Prudential Douglas Elliman, looked on the bright side.

“Just because homes are listed in foreclosure doesn’t mean much. It just means that someone misses three payments,” she said.

“The banks are trying to make deals and short sales — not to foreclose,” Herman said.

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