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If you're thinking of buying in Wantagh

People walk along the shore at Wantagh Park

People walk along the shore at Wantagh Park in Wantagh. (March 14, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

THE SCOOP Wantagh is known as the gateway to Jones Beach. It's an introduction worth repeating, since the hamlet is roughly five miles from the iconic state park.

But to Wantagh residents, community spirit, fine school districts and easy access to major highways matter most. "Wantagh is very active," says resident Tony Smith, broker of S.A.S. Real Estate.

However, the No. 1 draw, local agents say, are the schools. Although the community is served by several districts, most students attend Wantagh, where all five schools have been designated a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

Wantagh also boasts historic landmarks, parks, a preserve, boating, fishing, houses of worship and civic organizations. Shops, services and eateries can be found along thoroughfares such as Wantagh and Jerusalem avenues and Merrick Road.

Neighborhoods include Wantagh Woods, Forest Lake, Brookside Estates, Holiday Park, Sunrise Park, Polo and Mandalay. While each development may be dominated by a specific architectural style, prices run the gamut.

"This marketplace is strong," says Laura Dupkin Memisha, a resident and an associate broker of Realty Advisors. The area attracts a lot of young people, Smith adds.

CO-OPS AND CONDOS Nine listings between $214,990 and $425,000

SALES PRICE From Feb. 1, 2011, to March 4, 2012, there were 230 sales with a median price of $385,000, according to Multiple Listing Service of Long Island data. The low was $200,000, and the high was $900,000. From Jan. 1, 2010, to Jan. 31, 2011, there were 191 sales. The median price was $410,000, with a low of $225,200 and a high of $940,000.

ATTRACTIONS Wantagh Park offers a marina, a boat launch, pier fishing, a playground, athletic fields, a swimming complex, a jogging track, picnic areas and a dog run; the 58-acre Twin Lakes Preserve on Old Mill Road.

BY THE NUMBER

Town: Hempstead

Area: 3.8 square miles

ZIP code: 11793

Population: 18,871 (not including North Wantagh)

Median age: 41.4 (not including North Wantagh)

Median household income: $106,661 (not including North Wantagh)

Median home value: $385,000*

LIRR time to NYC: 46 minutes to 58 minutes at peak

Monthly ticket: $254

School districts: Wantagh, Levittown, North Bellmore and Seaford

SOURCES: 2010 Census; www.mlsli.com; Long Island Rail Road;

*Based on sales in the past six months, according to Multiple Listing Service of Long Island

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