Home sales in the Hamptons, the oceanside summer getaway for Wall Street financiers and celebrities, plunged 58% in the second quarter as the recession sapped demand for second homes.

Across 11 Eastern Long Island markets, 175 properties sold in the three months ending 30 June, marking the second biggest decline in records dating to 1982, broker Town & Country Real Estate said. Median prices dropped 4.4% to $950,000.

'When times get tough, the thing you do is cut out the non-essentials,' Town & Country President Judi Desiderio said in an interview. 'We’re a luxury item.'