Long Island Mansions on Sale: Live Like Gatsby

Attention Gatsby wannabes: If you always hankered after a waterfront mansion or storied estate home on Long Island's glitzy North Shore -- the Gold Coast that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" -- it might be time to buy.

A growing number of mega-size homes, in neighborhoods famous for their seclusion, bucolic settings and wealthy residents, are coming on the market in the fall season, at prices that are being described as adjustable.

Like other luxury markets across the country, the North Shore market was hit hard by the downturn, but is now showing some traction, which has led to encouraged sellers putting their homes up for sale -- and being open to bargaining -- while buyers are taking a second look. Not exactly fire sales but, says Jonathan Miller, of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers, "we think you will see more competition and larger discounts coming."

Take Windrift (pictured above and at end), a six-acre waterfront estate in Oyster Bay Harbor with 8,000-square-feet, five bedrooms, six bathrooms, a guest cottage, pool and tennis court. Listed at $8.35 million by Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty, it was reportedly discounted from an original listing price of $11 million, according to Newsday, but not confirmed by the Realtor.

Some of the listings indeed lend themselves to Gatsby fantasies.
Consider a waterfront property in Oyster Bay, with an 8,500-square-foot French chateau-style house a with slate roof, for $6.99 million.

One reason for the listings surge is perhaps a generational change. Older owners are selling off their huge homes as they retire, or their estates want to unload them. Meanwhile, new buyers are attracted to the sheer size of these properties, because tighter zoning restrictions curtail construction of uber-sized homes in many areas.

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What's more, many of the older homes come with the "style, craftsmanship and detail work" that you don't get in a contemporary or new build, says Paul Mateyunas, an agent at Daniel Gale. One of his listings is a 20-room French Norman-style home from the 1920s in Muttontown, which comes with a separate teahouse.

Prices have been on a downward slide while sales have increased this year. In the second quarter of 2010, the average North Shore sales price fell 7.7 percent to $843,651 from $941,185 in the same quarter a year ago, and was 3.1 percent lower than the previous quarter. But the number of sales soared 88.3 percent to 533 from 283 a year ago and was up 28.1 percent from the previous quarter, according to Miller Samuel.

So if you want to live in a Fitzgerald novel, head on down the Long island Expressway -- or cruise over to the North Shore on your yacht -- and check out the well-priced offerings.

See more homes for sale in Oyster Bay, N.Y.
See homes for sale in Muttontown, N.Y.

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