Merrick is on the South Shore of Long Island in Nassau County, close to the beach and right off the Meadowbrook Parkway and bordering Merrick Bay and East Bay.

"We are the last exit to Jones Beach, minutes away from the North Shore and the Roosevelt Field mall," says real estate agent Seth Pitlake, who grew up in Merrick. "We have the parks, the schools, the restaurants, the shopping, a nine-hole golf course on the bay, its own pool club and a nature preserve that has its own goats. Love those goats."

The residential market hit a low after superstorm Sandy, with many homes sustaining damage, but real estate agents say the market is up and inventory is in demand, particularly in south Merrick.

"Now everything is rebuilt. Buyers are back and everything is selling at top dollar," says Pitlake, who is with Douglas Elliman Real Estate. His mother, Louise Pitlake, a Merokean for the last 55 years, has been selling real estate for more than 30 years in the Merrick community. She also works for Douglas Elliman. "We have limited inventory because people want to be here," she says. "One of my houses that just sold had a bidding war and went $50,000 over the asking price."

Merrick has a mix of Colonials, split-levels, high-ranches and Tudors, as well as newly constructed homes found in the Old Lindenmere, Merrick Woods and North Merrick sections. The waterfront homes are south of Merrick Road, close to the marinas where many residents dock their boats.

Merrick is also known for the Gables, an area built in the 1920s and 1930s by Joseph Frankel and William Fox, owner of Fox Film Corp., which later became part of Twentieth Century Fox. Many of the homes in the Gables are Spanish stucco with an Old Hollywood feel.

One of the area's key attractions is Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve, a former landfill that was converted into a nature preserve in 2000. The preserve offers hiking and walking trails, exercise stations, guided kayak tours with an ecological component and a 500-foot fishing pier. A herd of Nigerian dwarf goats along with diamondback terrapins, guinea fowl, osprey (a variety of hawk) and, most recently arrived, a group of red foxes are some of the kinds of wildlife that live at the preserve.

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"There are over 100,000 visitors a year," says Mike Deery, Hempstead Town spokesman. "It is a destination. There is a trademark windmill on the top where you can see views of barrier islands and, on a clear day, the Manhattan skyline."

The downtown on tree-lined Merrick Avenue includes boutiques, shops, restaurants and small businesses. Merrick Road, which is farther south, is another shopping hub that has dining and places of worship.

"There's a nice sense of community," says Elaine Richheimer, who has lived in Merrick for more than 25 years and raised her three children here and now also sells real estate at Douglas Elliman.

Based on her recent sales, she says she has noticed that buyers know exactly what they want. "They want houses that don't require a lot of work and will pay a little more for something that is move-in ready," she says.

CONDOS AND CO-OPS: Two town house listings at $319,000 and $449,000

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SALE PRICES: From June 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015, there were 236 sales, with a median price of $485,500, according to Multiple Listing Service of Long Island data. The low price was $205,000 and the high price was $1,400,000. During the same period a year earlier, the number of sales was 248. The median price was $465,000, with a low of $220,500 and a high of $1,100,000.

ATTRACTIONS: The nine-hole Merrick golf course, Julian Lane Park with playgrounds and a picnic area, Merrick Theatre and Center for the Arts ("Barefoot in the Park'' is being performed through Aug. 16)

OTHER STATS

Town: Hempstead

Area: 5.2 total square miles (4.2 square miles of land; 1 square mile of water)

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ZIP code: 11566

Population: 22,097

Median age: 44.8

Median household income: $135,661

Median home value: $479,000

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LIRR time to NYC: About 45 minutes at peak

Monthly ticket: $287

School districts: Merrick Union Free School District, Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, North Merrick School District

SOURCES: 2010 Census; MLSLI.com; LIRR
*Based on sales in the past six months, according to MLSLI

ON MULTIPLE LISTINGS

Number of houses: 198

Price range: $225,000 to $2,495,000

Tax range: $9,453 to $34,153

RECENTLY SOLD

Halyard Drive, $1.075 million

This seven-room, center-hall Colonial on East Bay sold last month for $64,000 below the original asking price. It was on the market 188 days. Built in 1970, the home features five bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a boat lift and a seawall. The bulkhead and yard have been raised. Additional amenities include a full finished basement, a new heating system, an updated kitchen and a bathroom. The lot size is 54 by 120 feet. Taxes are $28,986. (Taxes are being grieved.)

Arbor Lane, $685,000

With an original asking price of $729,000, this eight-room ranch in the Old Lindenmere section was on the market 212 days. Set on one-third of an acre, the 1951 house has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, an eat-in-kitchen, an open floor plan and in-ground heated gunite pool. Taxes are $15,685.

Seneca Drive North, $715,000

After a bidding war and multiple offers, this nine-room Postmodern that was completely rebuilt in 2011 sold in January. The original asking price was $729,000. Situated in the Merrick Woods section, the home features four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a fireplace and a full basement. The lot is 70 by 101 feet. Taxes are $17,500.

NOW FOR SALE

Starter, $450,000

This eight-room Tudor was built in 1929. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a new kitchen, a fireplace, a full basement and hardwood floors. The property is 50 by 100 feet. Taxes are $13,850. Dina Rose, Century 21 American Homes, 516-384-5944.

Trade up, $799,000

Built in 1950, this 11-room farm ranch in the Merrick Woods section has five bedrooms and four bathrooms. The living room has a fireplace. Set on a corner lot, the home is on a 100-by-80-foot property. Taxes are $19,637. Marty Sorrentino, 516-551-0082 and Lynn Karp, 516-659-2291, Real Living-Innovations Realty Group.

High end, $1.59 million

This 5,000-square-foot contemporary on the water has five bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. Built in 1986, the home has a tri-story entry, walls of glass opening to a paver patio, an in-ground pool, a dock with direct access to East Bay and two koi ponds. The lot is 90 by 130 feet. Taxes are $33,112. Seth Pitlake, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 516-521-7976.