What will $400,000 get you on Long Island? A choice of more than 4,000 homes — including more than 150 newly constructed houses, more than 130 properties of one acre or larger and close to 200 waterfront homes, according to a search of the Long Island real estate sales website mlsli.com.
But just how far that money will go largely depends on which side of the Nassau-Suffolk county line you’re looking at.
In Nassau, that $400,000 budget is well below the median price of a home, which was $515,000 in August, according to the Multiple Listing Service. In a recent search, only about 850, or 17 percent, of Nassau County’s 5,000 listings were priced at $400,000 or less.
Meanwhile, that same $400,000 would place you comfortably within the upper half of buyers in Suffolk County, where the median was $375,000 in August. You’d also have more homes to choose from here: There were about 3,150 Suffolk homes for sale in that price range, or 42 percent, out of about 7,000 total listings, in a recent search of mlsli.com.
This year in Newsday’s annual Best Places to Live series, each feature will explore what’s available in a particular price range. In this installment, we highlight some of the best places on Long Island to raise a family, enjoy the waterfront, retire or buy a home as a single, all for $400,000 or less.
If you want to live by the water, try Baiting Hollow
"I always said a view was not important to me. That all changed when I saw the incredible views this place has of the Long Island Sound,” says Stephan Mandresh of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, who has owned a home in Baiting Hollow for 17 years.
The area’s vineyards, pastures and scenic waterfront bluffs create a bucolic backdrop for local attractions such as a country club and a Boy Scouts of America camp. This is nearby Reeves Beach.
Though the pastoral setting feels remote, residents of this hamlet in the Town of Riverhead can make their way easily enough to points east or west along Route 25A or the Long Island Expressway.
“Baiting Hollow is convenient to all the vineyards, the beaches, as well as lots of shopping,” says Gail DeSantis of Coldwell Banker M & D Good Life, who has a condo listing in Baiting Hollow for $330,000. “It’s just north of Riverhead, so it has access to a lot of shopping and the East End.”
Thanks to several condo communities and a seasonal cottage park, there are seven Baiting Hollow homes with water views, including two waterfront properties, listed for $400,000 or less, according to a recent search of mlsli.com.
Overall, there are 49 homes for sale in Baiting Hollow. Prices range from $42,500 for a three-bedroom seasonal ranch needing work to $5 million for a 10.2-acre equestrian estate featuring a four-bedroom custom home, a barn and an indoor riding ring.
This two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo features panoramic views of Long Island Sound. It’s in The Bluffs at Fox Hill, where amenities include a pool, tennis and a clubhouse. The monthly common charge is $468. Asking price is $389,900. It’s listed with Stephan Mandresh of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 631-298-8000.
If you're single, check out Farmingdale
Singles seeking singles should find plenty in Farmingdale, where about 49.1 percent of residents are unmarried, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. Farmingdale had some of the largest population gains on Long Island from 2015 to 2016 — an increase that coincided with the recent development of downtown residential complexes with hundreds of units sized right for those living alone.
The community's growth has contributed to a thriving social scene in the village. Whether you prefer a wine bar or a microbrewery, a live band or a DJ, a classic bar and grill or a modern gastropub, you’ll find it in or around downtown Farmingdale. “Main Street is a great place to go out and meet people,” says Peter Frizalone of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
In a recent search of mlsli.com, 16 Farmingdale homes were listed for $400,000 or less, with prices ranging from $128,800 for a one-bedroom co-op with a $614 monthly maintenance charge to $399,800 for a three-bedroom, one-bathroom cape. Overall, prices ranged up to $1.3 million for a new home to be built with five bedrooms and 3½ bathrooms.
This three-bedroom, two-bathroom cape is on an 80-by-105-square-foot lot that includes a private, landscaped yard. Asking price: $399,990. It’s listed with Lisa Vitale of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Atlantic Shores, 917-856-6969.
If you are retired, consider Shirley
Shirley is too far from Manhattan to suit most commuters, with its 90-plus-minute journey to Manhattan by train or by car. But retirees, freed from the daily grind, may have greater flexibility to take advantage of this South Shore hamlet’s tempting home prices and easy access to the waterfront and leisure activities.
“Depending on your location, you can walk over the bridge and enjoy all the beach has to offer, including free concerts,” says Christine Hermanowski of Re/Max Beyond, referring to the popular ocean beach at Smith Point County Park on Fire Island.
“The local fishing is exceptional,” says Bobby Herrick of Century 21 Herrick Real Estate.
In the photo: Residents of The Manors at the Colony Preserve enjoy the sunset, with wine and cheese.
Shirley has an ample supply of condos for those seeking a low-maintenance lifestyle. The Manors at the Colony Preserve (631-772-6770), a 55-and-over community, features an outdoor pool and whirlpool, a putting green, boccie ball, walking trails and a clubhouse with social and fitness amenities. Listings in this complex range in price from $289,900 to $370,500.
In the photo: Neil Bluth and Janice Mascia use the putting green on Sept. 15, 2017.
There were 175 homes listed for $400,000 or less in Shirley in a recent search of mlsli.com, including 11 condos. Overall there were 191 homes for sale, with prices ranging from $85,000 for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom ranch in need of repair to $699,000 for a four-bedroom, 5½-bathroom Colonial.
The Waters Edge community, which has no age restriction, offers an in-ground pool, water views and association docking rights. This three-bedroom, 2½-bathroom condo has two balconies with water views. It’s in the Waters Edge community, which has an in-ground pool and private beach. The monthly common charge is $525. The condo is on the market for $344,900. The home is listed with Christine Hermanowski and Jan Hermanowski of Re/Max Beyond, 631-382-8837.
If you're a family with kids, look into Holbrook
If you need three or more bedrooms to house your brood, you’ll find lots of choices in Holbrook for $400,000 or less; there were 29 in that price range in a recent a search of mlsli.com. This centrally located hamlet has a lot to offer families and kids, says Rosalie Aglione of Saltbox Realty Inc.
In the photo: Amy Bruno, left, and Jenn Verikokkos stroll with their year-old daughters Angelina Bruno and Stella Verikokkos during the Sachem Public Library Fall Festival this month in Holbrook.
“As a lifelong resident, there is a great sense of community — always something to do,” Aglione says. “Families and kids look forward to yearly carnival events that they love coming to.” Families flock to the annual Holbrook Carnival and Craft Festival every summer. And the Sachem Public Library in Holbrook held its fall festival this month, with a bounce house, face painting and other kid-friendly fun.
In the photo: Isabella Camilo, 9, looks on at the iPad that her sister, Giovanna Camilo, 6, is holding as they drive robots during the 2017 Sachem Public Library Fall Festival in Holbrook.
The library also offers a lengthy list of children’s programs, including music and movement classes for infants with caregivers, science, art and yoga classes for school-age kids and even drop-in video game sessions for teens.
Kids in Holbrook attend the Sachem school district, where 54 percent of high school graduates earned a Regents diploma with advanced designation last year, an indicator of college readiness that only 32 percent of students earned statewide, according to New York State Education Department statistics.
In the photo: Pranshi Patel, 4, gets a free pony ride during the 2017 Sachem Public Library Fall Festival in Holbrook.
In a recent search of mlsli.com, there were 40 Holbrook homes listed for $400,000 or less, including 29 with three or more bedrooms. Overall, there were 56 homes on the market, ranging from $210,000 for a three-bedroom farm ranch to $629,999 for a five-bedroom Colonial.
This four-bedroom, two-bathroom ranch has crown moldings, a coffered ceiling and hardwood floors. Asking price, $399,999. It’s listed with Rosalie Aglione of Saltbox Realty Inc., 631-472-3300.
If you're renting, look at Lynbrook
The monthly mortgage payment for a $400,000 house at current interest rates might be in the ballpark of $2,400, as calculated using online mortgage estimation tools from the government-sponsored mortgage enterprise Freddie Mac. Renters will find about 1,300 listings in that price range across Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Though rental inventory changes quickly, there recently were six in that price range in Lynbrook, ranging from $1,750 for a one-bedroom, one-bathroom unit in an apartment building to $2,400 for a two-bedroom apartment in the second floor of a house, according to mlsli.com.
Overall, there were 10 rentals in Lynbrook, ranging up to $3,000 for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom duplex.
And if you decide you’re ready to buy after all, there are nine homes for sale in Lynbrook for $400,000 or less, ranging from $129,000 for a studio in a co-op to $399,999 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom condo, according to mlsli.com.
Two Fairfield Properties rental complexes in Lynbrook have a combined total of 40 one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. When apartments are vacated, they receive upgrades such as granite countertops and crown moldings before being rented to new tenants. At deadline, two units were available. Interested renters should contact the leasing agent at 516-612-3396. Rates range from $2,205 to $2,600. This one bedroom, one bathroom unit in Lynbrook is available for rent for $2,205 a month.