This waterfront home at 22 Broadway in Gilgo Beach is...

This waterfront home at 22 Broadway in Gilgo Beach is on the market for $895,000 Credit: Handout

Homebuyers, add this category to your "worth-a-look'' list: waterfront properties that dot the shores of Long Island, many newly priced below $1 million.

Here's what's working in your favor: the housing downturn, the rising cost of gas to fill up a motorboat, changes in flood zones and fear of damage from future hurricanes.

With record low interest rates, a waterfront home may no longer be an impossible dream, says Marie Skarren of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Merrick, especially for buyers who can afford the flood insurance and taxes.

While many consider the ocean to be the trophy view, there are plenty of other bodies of water to live by, each with its own charm. The Island boasts them all: Long Island Sound, harbors, bays, canals, rivers, lakes, creeks and ponds, says Arlene Reckson, a senior vice president with The Corcoran Group in Amagansett.

"A few years ago, the only waterfront for under $1 million was a knockdown property or very small -- nothing prime," notes Seth Pitlake, a Realtor with Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Merrick. Now, Nassau and Suffolk have more than 650 waterfront homes in this price range for sale, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island.

OCEANFRONT Homes by the Atlantic Ocean are the perfect location for beach and surf lovers.

Consider this Properties can be affected by high winds and sea salt. Houses usually have no basement. Here, as in all waterfront properties, bugs and flies can be a problem.

SOUND FRONT The Long Island Sound stretches from western Nassau to the North Fork. The Sound has deeper water, which makes it ideal for sailing and motor boating.

Consider this Beaches are often rocky and without waves.

HARBOR FRONT Living on a harbor often means having a dock right outside the house. Harbors are great for power boating, sailing and water skiing. Harbors are more protected from the weather and waves. They are often gathering places with yacht clubs, restaurants, shopping and boat maintenance shops.

Consider this Wind and wind damage are more prevalent than on other bodies of water.

BAY FRONT Bays are good for kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, swimming and fishing.

Consider this Sea salt and high winds can damage a house.

RIVERFRONT Rivers flow toward the ocean or lake. Rivers are great for nonmotorized boating such as kayaking and rowboats. Nature lovers will be treated to sightings of turtles, muskrats and birds near properties.

Consider this Property can attract unwanted wildlife. During heavy rains, rivers can flood. There is often no bulkheading.

CANAL FRONT Creeks and inlets are usually small, calm bodies of water, perfect for boaters who want a place to live and dock their boats.

Consider this There can sometimes be privacy issues because many canals are narrow and you can see right into a neighbor's yard or home. Sometimes it takes 15 to 20 minutes to get to an open body of water.

LAKE FRONT A lake is ideal for row-boating, canoeing, fishing and swimming.

Consider this Lakes can crest and flood during heavy rains. Lakes are not good for motorized boats.

POND FRONT A pond is a body of standing water, either natural or man-made. It is often filled with frogs and fish, and perfect for horticulturists, fisherman and skating in winter.

Consider this Not much action here; you must go elsewhere for active water sports.


East Hampton $725,000

11 Isle of Wight Rd.

ALL ABOUT THE WATER A deck wraps around this modern home, which is on 100 feet of Hog Creek. Outdoor activities can include row boating, kayaking, paddle boarding and even launching a small Sunfish sailboat, says listing agent Vicky Thompson. There are creek views from both the upper and lower levels, which, with a telescope, is good for bird-watching and spotting turtles and other wildlife. For a fee, residents have rights to use a community marina to rent a boat slip and also to use a beach on Gardiners Bay.

THE HOUSE An upside-down modern design layout has the kitchen, living room, and a half-bath upstairs. The master suite is downstairs, where there are also two guest bedrooms and two bathrooms, one of which connects to an outdoor shower. It is in the Lion's Head development on a .6-acre lot.

LISTING AGENT Vicky Thompson, The Corcoran Group, Amagansett, 631-267-7430


Gilgo Beach $895,000

22 Broadway

ALL ABOUT THE WATER This is a popular surfing spot between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great South Bay. You can park your boat right in back of the house on the bay side, and on Broadway there is a walking path to Gilgo Beach. "Picture windows throughout the house make sitting in the living room, cooking in the kitchen or eating in the dining room feel like you're floating on a boat," says listing agent May Alem. At the same time, there's a view of a marsh in the middle of the bay filled with birds and greenery.

THE HOUSE The cedar two-story home has four bedrooms and two full baths. There's an eat-in-kitchen, dining room, den, two skylights, wood floors and three decks.

LISTING AGENT May Alem, Coach Realtors, Northport, 631-757-4000


Port Washington $639,000

75-16 West Shore Rd.

ALL ABOUT THE WATER Residents of this private waterfront community on Long Island Sound pay maintenance fees to gain access to a private beach where they can kayak, sail, motor boat and swim. "It's like being on vacation all year round," says listing agent Terry Sciubba. The cottage boasts water views from every window.

THE HOUSE In the Beacon Hill Colony section on a cul-de-sac, the house has two bedrooms and two full baths, with the master bedroom on the first floor. There's an eat-in-kitchen, dining room, den, home office, fireplace and wood floors throughout.

LISTING AGENT Terry Sciubba, Sherlock Homes Realty Corp., Sea Cliff, 516-671-1717

How to choose waterfront property

First, you have to evaluate your lifestyle and needs, says Vicky Thompson of The Corcoran Group. Some questions to ask yourself: Are you looking to be near a beach? Do you want to be able to go swimming outside your door or launch a boat? Do you just want to look at the water? Some people love being up on a high bluff, while others want to put their toes in the sand first thing in the morning, Thompson says.

For avid boaters, the size of a craft becomes a crucial part of finding a waterfront property. You have to consider the water depth, tides and exposure to wind and waves.

Fishermen will want to stick to properties with easy access to their favorite fishing spots, though, depending on the season, those spots may vary, Thompson says -- surf casting by the ocean, fishing off a jetty or pier, or fishing off a rowboat in the bay.

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