Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. has reported that revenues for the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund (CPF) dropped 21.3 percent in 2019.
The CPF, which provides funding for land preservation in the five East End towns, is funded through a 2 percent real estate transfer tax paid by buyers of property on the East End, and can serve as a barometer of the health of the real estate market here.
The five towns collected $77.88 million in revenue in 2019, down from a record high of $98.97 million in 2018. The 2018 revenue was the highest since the then-record revenue of $96.02 million collected in 2007, just before the nationwide housing market meltdown that led to the 2008 financial crisis.
Mr. Thiele reported that “this is the lowest annual total for CPF revenue since the 2008 to 2012 period during the Great Recession. Revenues for each month in 2019 have been lower than each corresponding month in 2018. Only Shelter Island had an increase in revenues for 2019.”
Revenue in Riverhead dropped 31 percent to $3.42 million in 2019, the highest percentage drop of the five East End towns, which corresponded to a decline of $1.54 million.
East Hampton saw a 29.4 percent decline, a far greater drop in revenue dollarwise than Riverhead, bringing in $22.65 million, down from $32.07 million, a $9.42 million decline.
Southampton revenues declined 19.1 percent to $42.86 million from $53 million.
Shelter Island, where small numbers of high-price sales can easily skew market figures, saw a whopping 37.5 percent increase, from $1.12 million in 2018 to $1.54 million in 2019, an increase of $420,000.
Southold proved most resilient, with revenue dropping just 5.2 percent, or $410,000, to $7.41 million.
Since its inception in 1999, the Community Preservation Fund has generated $1.46 billion for land preservation, and in the past two years also for water quality projects, on the East End.