THE SCOOP: Trains, planes and a really big lake. These are some of the things Ronkonkoma is known for.
Let's start with Lake Ronkonkoma: It was formed by a glacier about 20,000 years ago and is Long Island's largest lake. As for trains, the Long Island Rail Road station in Ronkonkoma has attracted commuters from miles around since the track was electrified in 1988. And, finally, planes - commercial flights are available from the Town of Islip's Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, which was expanded in 2004.
Tree-lined neighborhoods are dominated by Capes, ranches, high-ranches and Colonials. A small two- or three-bedroom house with one bathroom can start in the low- to mid-$200,000 range, says Evan Greene of Hough & Guidice Realty in Miller Place. The area's industry helps keep taxes low, says Sandra Ludyny of Century 21 Castle Real Estate Properties in Lake Ronkonkoma, noting the community attracts young families.
There is some new construction in the hamlet, including a four-lot subdivision on the former Vanderbilt estate. Custom-built homes - from 2,500 to 3,200 square feet - will occupy lots of a third to a half acre. Prices start at $489,000, Greene says.
CONDOS: 14 listed between $195,000 and $287,000
SALES PRICE: According to Multiple Listing Service of Long Island data, 142 houses have sold since November 2008. The median price was $311,000, with a low of $90,000 and a high of $585,000. From October 2007 to October 2008, there were 144 sales with a median price of $340,000. The low was $141,000, and the high was $650,000.
ATTRACTIONS: Lake beaches and fishing at Lake Ronkonkoma, which has shores in Islip, Smithtown and Brookhaven towns. The Rinx (Hidden Pond Park) in nearby Hauppauge offers skating, hockey and a day camp.
Town: Islip and Brookhaven
Area: 8.2 square miles
ZIP code: 11779*
Median age: 38.48
Median household income: $87,738
Median home value: $313,500**
Median age of homes: 36*
Percent owning home: 74.1 percent
Percent renting home: 22.9 percent
Percent homes vacant: 2.4 percent
LIRR time to NYC: 1 hour, 6 minutes to 1 hour, 25 minutes at peak
Monthly ticket: $306
School district: Connetquot and Sachem
SOURCES: Claritas 2009 estimates; www.mlsli.com; Long Island Rail Road;
*Includes Lake Ronkonkoma
**Based on sales in the past six months, according to Multiple Listing Service of Long Island