State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. reported on Thursday that regional revenue for the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund was 8 percent higher in the first quarter of 2014 than last year, but that East Hampton's first quarter showed a decrease.
The C.P.F. has taken in $21.85 million in the region as compared to $20.23 million during the same period in 2013. The month of March alone brought in $7.25 million, compared with $4.19 million in March the previous year.
C.P.F. revenue for East Hampton Town, however, was $5.2 million this year and $5.77 million last year, a 9.3-percent decrease. Shelter Island had the biggest decrease among the five East End towns, 22.4 percent, from $670,000 in 2013 to $520,000 this year, while revenue for Riverhead, Southampton, and Southold went up.
Southampton went from $12.35 million last year to $14.3 million this year, an increase of 15.8 percent. Riverhead had the largest increase, a whopping 66.7 percent, with first quarter revenue going from $510,000 to $850,000. For Southold, revenue was up by 1.1 percent, from $940,000 to $950,000.
Overall, the number of transactions in the first quarter were down, from 2,164 to 1,716, which Mr. Thiele said was unusual. Mr. Thiele said he believed the decrease in the number of sales had more to do with weather than anything else.
"Having watched these numbers for 15 years now, I don't think it's a function of any economic factors," he said Friday. While the number of transactions was down, prices and home values were up. "The thing that influences that the most is what's going on on Wall Street. When Wall Street is up, real estate on the East End is up."
Mr. Thiele said in a press release that 2013 was the second largest year for C.P.F. revenue, exceeded only by 2007. "This reflects the continued strength in East End real estate, particularly Southampton Town, and the continued availability to local towns of the necessary revenues to protect community character," he said.
Since established in 1999, the Peconic Bay Regional Community Preservation Fund has taken in $906.59 million. The 2-percent tax under the C.P.F. expires in 2030.