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C.P.F. Take Is Down Again

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 18:46

In May, for the fifth month in a row, revenues for the Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund were down from the same period last year. Thus far in 2019, $29.42 million has been collected, compared to $40.53 million in 2018, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced on Monday.

At the current rate of home sales, Mr. Thiele said in a prepared statement, annual revenues would be about $20 million less than they had been for each of the past six years.

The preservation fund, which provides money for land preservation and water quality improvement, receives the proceeds of a 2-percent real estate transfer tax in the five East End towns: East Hampton, Southampton, Shelter Island, Southold, and Riverhead.

Revenues had reached a high point for the year in April, when $7.4 million had been collected, compared to $5.47 million in January, $6.51 million in February, and $4.56 million in March. In May, however, they plummeted to $5.48 million, down from $8.94 million in May 2018.  

“There is no doubt that the six-year streak of $90 million-plus per year in C.P.F. revenue is in serious jeopardy,” said Mr. Thiele.

Southampton, which had posted the largest decline in revenues in the first quarter of 2019, raised just over $15 million in May, down from more than $22 million in 2018, a decrease of 31 percent. In East Hampton, May revenue was down by more than 27 percent; it had been down by 14 percent in the first quarter. Riverhead’s C.P.F. income was down nearly 30 percent, and Southold’s by more than 6 percent. Shelter Island was the only town in which tax revenue increased in May, by 8.5 percent from last year.

According to a report from Out East, the online real estate marketplace, only 46 homes had sold or were in contract to sell in May in East Hampton and Southampton (including both towns and villages), as opposed to 142 last year, a drop of nearly 68 percent. 

The company also found an increase of more than 4 percent in the number of price reductions for homes on the market. In Montauk, the report said, the asking price had been cut on more than one in three homes. J.B.