For those with a penchant for nature, as well as water sports, the South Shore hamlet of Shirley offers several outlets, namely Smith Point County Park, says former resident Caryn Alfano of Century 21 Cor Ace Realty.

Situated on the Fire Island barrier beach, Smith Point -- the county's largest oceanfront park -- offers white sandy beaches, camping and special events in the summer. Off-road vehicles with a permit can drive on the western portion of the outer beach.

Another gem, says Ron Bloomfield, director of sales and marketing for The Colony Preserve, a new housing development, is the 2,550-acre Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge. "It's an amazing place," Bloomfield says, citing its fairly new interactive visitors center.

 New businesses continue to arrive, says Laura Blanco of Coldwell Banker Distinctive. Unique Health and Fitness, which offers Zumba, yoga and kickboxing, recently opened on McGraw Street, says Adrienne Donovan of Coldwell Banker M&D Good Life. Montauk Highway, dotted with shops, eateries and services, is the main commercial area. And since the Long Island Expressway and Sunrise Highway are accessible via William Floyd Parkway, commuting to the Hamptons and points west is convenient, Donovan says,

The area attracts first-time home buyers, agents say. "Shirley is one of those areas where you can get more house for your money," says Alfano. "You can get a really nice house for under $200,000," adds Blanco. A mix of styles includes Colonials, capes, ranches and postmoderns. Lot sizes range from a quarter-acre to one acre.

The Colony Preserve, on the former 258-acre golf course known as The Links at Shirley, has two housing components, Bloomfield says. The first, with 150 condo units for adults 55 and older, is in the first phase of construction, though about a dozen families have moved in. The two-bedroom units are priced from $299,900 to $319,900. Amenities include a clubhouse, a swimming pool, boccie courts and a pond for rowboats and paddle boats.

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The second component is not age restricted and will comprise 75 single-family homes from 2,000 square feet to 2,700 square feet, starting at $324,900. The houses will face either water, woods or parkland. (Ninety-eight acres of the golf course were donated to the town as parkland.)

CONDOS AND TOWN HOUSES: 7 listings (includes 55-plus and non-age-restricted), $299,900 to $417,000

SALES PRICES: From Feb. 1, 2014, to March 10, 2015, there were 235 sales with a median price of $185,000, according to Multiple Listing Service of Long Island data. The low price was $55,000 and the high was $577,500. From 2013 to 2014, during the same time period, there were 206 sales. The median price was $167,770 with a low of $54,000 and a high of $625,000.

OTHER STATS

Town: Brookhaven

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Area: 10.9 square miles

ZIP code: 11967

Population: 27,854

Median age: 35.8

Median household income: $82,159

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Median home value: $175,000*

LIRR time: From Mastic-Shirley to New York City, 1 hour and 37 minutes to 1 hour and 51 minutes at peak

Monthly ticket: $429

School district: Most students attend William Floyd, while others go to Longwood.

ON MULTIPLE LISTINGS

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Number of houses: 200

Price range: $60,000 (for a short sale) to $639,000

Tax range: $2,700 to $19,315

Sources: 2010 Census; mlsli.com; LIRR

*Based on sales in the past six months, according to MLSLI

RECENTLY SOLD

Laurel Lane, $340,000. With a last asking price of $349,000, this 10-room, two-story house sold last month. It was on the market 460 days. Built in 1956 on a 100-by-180-foot lot, the updated house features an open layout with wood floors and vaulted ceilings. It has a fireplace, as well as a chef's kitchen, four bedrooms and 31/2 bathrooms. Amenities include a free-form, in-ground pool and in-ground sprinklers. Taxes are $10,114.

Park Circle, $231,000. Earlier this month, this six-room ranch, which was on the market 116 days, sold for $18,999 less than the original asking price of $249,999. Set on a quarter-acre, the updated house features wood floors, crown molding, high hat lighting, French doors and a fireplace. It has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a half-bath. Decking and an in-ground sprinkler system are among the amenities. The house was built in 1950. Taxes are $9,707.

Rugby Drive, $151,000. On the market 83 days, this five-room ranch sold in January for $9,000 less than the original asking price of $160,000. Features include wood floors and cathedral ceilings, as well as three bedrooms and a custom bathroom. The 0.14-acre parcel with fenced yard has in-ground sprinklers. The house was built in 2000. Taxes are $7,418.

ON THE MARKET

Starter, $155,000. Featuring wood floors, a bay window, sliding glass doors and a sunroom, this three-bedroom, one-bath ranch is on a 50-by-125-foot lot. Taxes are $5,850. Anthony Guidice and Laura Blanco, Coldwell Banker Distinctive, 631-821-2040.

Trade-up, $339,000. Built in 2005 on a 100-by-216-foot lot with an in-ground pool, this nine-room Colonial features wood floors, a fireplace, four bedrooms two bathrooms and a half-bath. Taxes are $10,672. Adrienne Donovan, Coldwell Banker M&D Good Life, 631-295-6121.

High-end, $639,000. Backing a nature preserve, this 3,450-square-foot custom ranch, with wood floors, a tray ceiling, a fireplace, a gourmet kitchen, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a half-bath was built in 2003 on a 133-by-285-foot lot. Taxes are $15,774. Caryn Alfano and Anthony Alfano, Century 21 Cor Ace Realty, 631-878-3400.