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LI's hottest ZIPs: Where the most homes sold in 2020

Lisa Kiefer, of Daniel Gale Sotheby's, in front

Lisa Kiefer, of Daniel Gale Sotheby's, in front of 9 Doti Court in Huntington, where home sales continue to boom. This house had more than 57 showings and went under contract shortly after it was listed, selling way over asking price.   Credit: Morgan Campbell

You’ve heard of Beverly Hills, 90210.

Well, Long Island has its hot ZIP codes, too. As the residential real estate market continues booming into winter, those five digits have become code for fast sales and record prices in parts of the Island.

Among the Long Island ZIP codes with the highest 2020 sales are 11746 and 11743, which include Huntington, Huntington Station, Dix Hills, South Huntington and Lloyd Harbor; 11756, Levittown; 11757, Lindenhurst; 11772, Patchogue and East Patchogue, Blue Point; 11566, Merrick; 11787, Smithtown; and 11758, Massapequa, according to data from OneKey MLS.

When Michael Scanlon went house hunting last year in Blue Point, where he grew up, he found that his old ZIP code had become a hot number in the housing market.

Scanlon, 31, an energy engineer who in August started working as a licensed real estate salesperson for Coldwell Banker in Ronkonkoma, had wanted to introduce his wife and their three children to the pleasures of living in the small community on Patchogue Bay.

But their bids kept falling short in the pandemic-fueled market, with buyers rushing to scoop up suburban homes.

"We were outbid on quite a few properties," said Scanlon, who eventually closed on a four-bedroom Cape Cod in Blue Point near the water, about four days after the property was listed.

"We were nervous that it would be sold before we saw it," said Scanlon, who prevailed with a bid of $20,000 over the asking price. "Others put in offers, but they were too late," he said.

"What we’re seeing is 28% of transactions selling above asking price" on Long Island, said Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of the appraisal and consulting firm Miller Samuel Inc. "One of the underlying drivers is the quest for larger living space, and I think that accounts for part of the unusual demand that Long Island has enjoyed since the end of the lockdown."

Although Miller said he doesn’t see a pattern emerging in ZIP code areas as diverse as Levittown and Lloyd Harbor, he said the increased activity across Long Island is a result of "a combination of record low home mortgage rates, a suburban renaissance essentially triggered by the lockdown in the city, and unusually low inventory."

Of course, the size of the area in each ZIP code is likely to factor in home sales numbers. But real estate brokers active in these ZIP codes are seeing long lines at open houses, multiple offers above asking price, aggressive bidding wars, and homes practically flying off the market.

Here are some communities among the top 10 ZIP codes that saw the most robust home sales in 2020.

11756, Levittown: Still a 'starter community'

Almost 75 years after its founding, Long Island’s first suburb is still the quintessential "starter community," says Vishal Jakhu, a licensed real estate agent for Realty Connect in Woodbury.

Levittown’s parks, free outdoor public pools, plentiful on-street parking and comparatively large backyards are among the amenities that help sell homes to city dwellers, he says.

Historically, Levittown was pioneered by World War II veterans moving out from the city to what they regarded as the country. Nowadays, the "majority are newly married couples with small kids … looking to get into a decent school district," Jakhu said.

Levittown home prices remain competitive despite the hot market, averaging in the upper $400,000 range, Jakhu said. Lot sizes that average 60 feet by 100 feet seem like wide open spaces to Queens apartment dwellers, he said. In Levittown, Jakhu said, "you get a lot of value for your money."

11566, Merrick: 'A boater's dream'

Merrick experienced a "frenzy" of sales last year, said Barbara Schultis, regional manager at Douglas Elliman’s South Shore offices.

Schultis said that her Merrick office sold 500 homes last year. "We had tremendous showings and multiple offers and approximately 30% of our closings sold above asking price."

She attributes part of the community’s popularity to neighborhoods with different personalities, including Lindenmere, Merrick Woods, Merrick Manor and Briarcliff.

Schultis said many homebuyers are coming out from the city. "A very reasonable price per square foot, the outdoor space, the excellent schools all combined are a very attractive package for somebody that’s been living in Manhattan or Brooklyn," she said. "If you have to work in the city, you have a 42-minute commute."

Adds Schultis: "Merrick has an open bay and miles of canals. It’s a boater’s dream."

11772, Patchogue: Elusive bargains

Patchogue’s Main Street is a "vibrant downtown and its accessibility to the residential areas is certainly a selling point," said David Kennedy of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce.

But the former South Shore mill town has also been earning a reputation as a more affordable alternative to Sayville. It’s a place where "the cost of buying houses is still below the average of Suffolk County," Kennedy said. Act fast and you still might find a fixer-upper Cape Cod or Victorian.

Stephen King, 27, who grew up in Patchogue and works as an associate broker at Realty Connect USA, said he sold a dozen homes in the community in 2020, ranging in price from $300,000 to $500,000. "Ninety percent of them went over asking," King said.

King said that the Canaan Lake section of the village "has been a really big hot spot for first-time homebuyers" because its properties are smaller and more affordably priced.

King also sold a small summer cottage on Brightwood Street in Patchogue. "The buyers love it because of the walking distance to the bay," he said.

"If they [buyers] are coming from the city and are from tight quarters, their new backyard will look amazingly big" in Patchogue, said Christine Hodulick, a licensed real estate salesperson on Team Carillo with Coldwell Banker Realty in Ronkonkoma. Hodulick said that each of the homes she sold last year in Patchogue and East Patchogue received about a dozen offers. One sold for $25,000 over asking price, another $20,000 over asking price.

11757, Lindenhurst: Millennial magnet

Is Lindenhurst the next Patchogue?

Millennials from Brooklyn, Queens and other parts of Long Island have also been flocking to Lindenhurst, said Frank Dell’Accio, a broker/owner at Century 21 AA. Dell’Accio, who has been selling in the area for 45 years, said that homes there routinely go for $10,000 to $15,000 above asking price.

Lindenhurst boasts a number of amenities popular with the generation born between 1980 and the late 1990s, who are now the largest cohort of homebuyers in the nation. Downtown features craft breweries, trendy restaurants like Restoration Kitchen & Cocktails, and a new luxury apartment complex across from the Long Island Rail Road station, Dell’Accio said. In summer the fun includes outdoor concerts and seafood feasts at Venetian Shores Park.

The Village of Lindenhurst may owe some of its appeal, however, to the municipalities’ allowing legal, two-family, owner-occupied homes, by permit. As a result, "legally you can offset your mortgage with an apartment" rental, Dell’Accio said.

11743, 11746, Huntington: Selling a lifestyle

The Town of Huntington offers the best of both worlds for new suburban homeowners — open space at home, and lively nightlife downtown.

Deirdre O’Connell, CEO at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, said that the median home sale price in the Town of Huntington rose 10% last year, and their median number of days on the market fell 28% to 36 days.

Typical of the speeded up market was the sale of a home on East Neck Road in Huntington, which attracted 14 sets of buyers, and four offers, at a Saturday open house the week it was listed, O’Connell said.

"It went under contract in nine days for $31,000 over asking," O’Connell said. The house "was a totally done ranch in a very desirable beach community where homes don’t pop up every day."

Another home, 28 Gaines St., Huntington, went under contract without even an on-site visit by the buyer. A FaceTime tour led to a contract "without the buyer ever setting foot in the house" O’Connell said.

A house on Doti Court in Huntington, listed by Lisa Kiefer of Daniel Gale, had more than 57 showings and went under contract in January, shortly after it was listed, and is expected to sell way over asking price.

What makes Huntington so desirable? "For many people here, it’s the lifestyle," O’Connell said. Huntington houses offer room for offices and home gyms, and yards with space for pools and outdoor kitchens. Beach associations cater to those who like a saltwater dip in summertime.

11772, Blue Point: Hometown feel

Blue Point is a small hamlet with big appeal for people who want to live near the water in a small(er) town atmosphere.

Scanlon said Blue Point benefits from name recognition thanks to the gourmet oysters that bear its name. It’s a onetime vacation community where buyers can still find cottages and former summer bungalows converted to year-round use. For local color residents can point to their own Town of Brookhaven park — Corey Beach — and Flo’s Luncheonette, a roadside landmark since the 1920s.

"If you have kids growing up, it’s easy to get to know parents and friends and have that sense of a tight-knit community," Scanlon said. "When people move here, they don’t want to leave."

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