In Long Island’s soaring real estate market, would-be buyers may be overlooking communities where home prices have stayed more down-to-earth.
The Island’s most luxurious coastal communities posted eye-popping annual home price increases this spring. The Hamptons community of Wainscott, for instance, saw the median price triple to almost $2.8 million in the second quarter compared with the same period last year; in the village of Roslyn Harbor on the Gold Coast of Nassau County, the median price jumped 158% year-over-year to nearly $2.2 million; and in the North Fork hamlet of Orient, the median price more than doubled annually to $2.25 million, the Manhattan-based appraisal company Miller Samuel and the brokerage Douglas Elliman said in their most recent report.
Across the rest of the Island, outside of the East End, prices jumped 18% from a year earlier, to a median of $555,000, the report shows.
But there are dozens of communities where median prices increased by 10% or less, or even dropped, over the same period, an analysis of community-level home price data compiled for Newsday by Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman shows. Many have median prices between $300,000 and $700,000, a range made attainable for more buyers by historically low mortgage rates.
Among them are a number of communities – including East Patchogue, Farmingdale, Glen Cove, Huntington Station and Rockville Centre – whose proximity to walkable downtowns and commuter train stations have attracted homebuyers for years.
“The luxury markets across the region have gotten the lion’s share of attention,” especially since they had been lagging before the pandemic, said Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel. But, he said, “their comeback has overshadowed the more consistent performance of mid-tier housing markets that have fundamental advantages, like close proximity to services and transportation.”
The disparate price trends reflect buyers’ shifting tastes before and during the pandemic, and they offer hints about what’s to come over the next year or so, real estate agents said. Easy access to city-bound trains became less of a draw during the COVID-19 crisis, brokers said, as many affluent buyers fleeing the city sought out more far-flung properties with sprawling backyards and plenty of room for remote work and school, and many workers found they could do their jobs remotely.
Long Island Rail Road ridership has plummeted during the pandemic. The rail system had 1.6 million riders last month, up from 1 million a year earlier but less than half the 3.9 million riders in August 2019, LIRR reports show.
“In the heart of this thing, nobody was going to work, we were all working from home,” said Edmund Costigan, a real estate agent with Hardscrabble Realty in Farmingdale. The commute, he said, “wasn’t considered to be a major concern.”
Many buyers leaving New York City and buying homes on Long Island during the pandemic “aren’t looking for the downtown areas…they don’t want to go from one downtown to another,” said Michael Grannum, a real estate agent with Exit Realty Premier in Massapequa.
But with vaccination rates slowly rising, most…
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