By Stacey Altherr
Special to Newsday @staceyaltherr
Updated December 9, 2020 12:28 PM
Annie Chen and her husband, Tim, know how tough and time-consuming it is to maintain a home from watching their parents. The busy millennials wanted none of that when they were planning to move from Queens — but they did want a place large enough to start a family.
So, they decided on a $629,000 condo at the Meadowbrook Pointe Gardens in East Meadow.
“It’s a whole different generation,” said Chen, 31, a corporate executive, who with her husband, Tim, a wedding photographer, looks forward to the no-hassle lifestyle.
“We work hard, and on the weekdays, our brains are fried. At the end of the day, we don’t want to worry about the plumbing… We don’t want to be in Home Depot.”
Another plus for the Chens is the sleek and modern look of the condos. “We want those white cabinets, the minimal look,” she said. “Everything is brand-new. That’s the vibe we want, without the problems of a house.”
The living-dining room in Meadowbrook Pointe Gardens in
The living-dining room in Meadowbrook Pointe Gardens in East Meadow Credit: Beechwood Homes
The design and function of condominiums have changed dramatically. No longer just glorified apartments, many have the same number of rooms and square footage of a home, and often have more land — although common space — with walking trails and preserves.
The newest generation of condos and townhouses are more modern and minimalistic, a different aesthetic from the Center Hall Colonials and split levels that dot Long Island. These condos are light and airy, with high ceilings, lots of windows, and many high-end options. Some have fireplaces, while others feature full basements and attics.
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Steven Dubb, principal of The Beechwood Organization, in
Steven Dubb, principal of The Beechwood Organization, in a Greenbrier 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom upper villa at Country Pointe in Plainview Credit: Barry Sloan
“The level of design gets better and better, including the curb appeal,” said Steven Dubb of Beechwood Homes, a Jericho building organization. “People don’t want to feel like they are settling down, they want to live to a certain standard they’re used to.”
The amenities — from clubhouses to bocci courts, pools and well-equipped fitness centers — are also a big draw, Dubb said.
“They form book clubs, play bocci, form horse racing clubs,” he said. “It’s a new lease on life for a lot of people, who, before then, were sitting in a house alone.”
And the prices of these homes — with all these features — are rising to the costs of single-family homes, as well. Homes in condo communities range from the high 300s to places such as the upcoming The Seasons at Dix Hills, a 55-and-older community, where they start around $775,000, and others around the same. Yet others are in the millions.
They’re attracting retirees eager to make a new beginning, as well.
Mary Granshaw in the kitchen area of her
Mary Granshaw in the kitchen area of her 2-bedroom 2½-bath townhouse at Country Pointe Meadows in Yaphank. Granshaw moved from a 5-acre property in Mattituck. Credit: Randee Daddona
After Mary Granshaw’s husband died, she began to feel lonely in her home on five acres in Mattituck. So, she decided to sell it and move to Country Pointe Meadows, a townhouse in a 55-and-older community in Yaphank.
“I’m doing things I haven’t done in thirty years,” said Granshaw. “I’m meeting a lot of people.”
Granshaw, 68, a retired office manager, is one of many who are leaving single family homes to live in condo communities, where large contemporary homes and socialization becomes a big part of the draw.
A game room in the clubhouse at Country
A game room in the clubhouse at Country Pointe in Plainview Credit: Barry Sloan
Granshaw purchased her two-bedroom, two-bath condo last year for $575,000, and quickly got involved in activities there. The home has an open floor plan, with a spacious feeling. The home has a back patio where she can see the pond, and a front porch, where she often sits and sips her morning coffee, waving to her neighbors as they walk by.
The kitchen in Meadowbrook Pointe Gardens in East
The kitchen in Meadowbrook Pointe Gardens in East Meadow Credit: Beechwood Homes
Eric Becker, 60, can’t wait to move into his new two-bedroom condo in Meadowbrook Pointe Gardens in East Meadow, which he bought early for $550,000. A volunteer fireman, he was happy he could continue the life he has built in the 43 years as an East Meadow resident, but give up the hassles of homeownership.
“The minute I saw they were going to put condos there, I thought, ‘Wow’. That was just what I wanted,” he said.
Close to home prices
Data from OneKey MLS shows in the last six months that condo prices are right behind home prices.
In October for instance, the median price of a condo sold in Nassau County was $599,000 compared with a residential home median price of $603,000. In September, the median price of a condo was $627,000 which was higher than the $600,000 median price of a residential home.
The dining area of Mary Granshaw’s two-bedroom townhouse
The dining area of Mary Granshaw’s two-bedroom townhouse at Country Pointe Meadows in Yaphank Credit: Randee Daddona
In Suffolk, the median price of homes sold is lower overall, but condo sales often trail close to the prices of single-family homes. The latest October numbers show a median price significantly lower than residential price; $399,000 for condos compared with $485,000 for homes. But over the six-month period, median prices for condos reached as high as $440,000 in June, above the median price of $419,000 for residential homes that month.
Beechwood Organization’s latest project, The Latch, is in the heart of Southampton Village, the site of the shuttered historic Stanford White hotel, with units starting at about $1.7 million to $4 million. Sales are underway. Despite the high price, Dubb said they have already sold about half the 20 homes.
In Country Pointe Meadows in Yaphank, half the units have been sold and there are residents living in the community. Meadow Pointe Gardens, too, where construction is yet to begin, is 55% sold, off only floor plans because no models have been built.
Residential sales are still overwhelmingly higher than condo sales. In October, 225 condos were sold compared with 1,725 single-family homes in Suffolk County. Similarly, 75 condos were sold in Nassau County, compared with 1,411 residential homes.
Selling before construction
The Seasons at Dix Hills, now selling preconstruction, will have a two-story clubhouse with card rooms, a sports bar and lounge, fitness center, stretching room, outdoor pool, fire pits, and a putting green.
“We see a tremendous amount of demand,” said Scott Burman, principal at Engel Burman, a construction and real estate company, that is building The Seasons.
The pool at The Seasons at Dix Hills
The pool at The Seasons at Dix Hills Credit: Engel Burman
Another recent 55-and-older community in Elwood has sold out, he said. “Many of [the buyers] are in their 70s and don’t want to deal with homeownership. They want to be in Florida in the winter, but have ties to Long Island.”
Donna LaSala, 61, and her husband Anthony Scivoli, 68, are selling their Rockville Centre home to buy a two-bedroom, 2½-bath home in The Seasons at Dix Hills, which is under construction. They picked it off a plan with no model available.
The kitchen in the lower unit at the
The kitchen in the lower unit at the condominiums at The Seasons at Dix Hills Credit: Engel Burman
LaSala said they both contracted COVID-19 — her husband so badly they were worried he may die — and they decided that they were done with the big house.
The new condo has a homey feel, she said, and living in a gated community with neighbors close by will give them a real sense of security, especially when they travel to their other home in Hilton Head in South Carolina.
“With the basement, and the layout, it seemed a lot like our home,” she said. “I want to be able to turn the key and be nice and cozy in front of a fireplace.”