After lagging behind its 2015 Community Preservation Fund income for 10 months of last year, Shelter Island not only turned the corner by the end of November, but has sustained its gain for the entire 2016 year.
According to numbers released Monday by Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), Shelter Island ended 2016 with CPF income 2 percent above what it had been in 2015.
The money reflects a 2 percent tax paid by property buyers and last year, the Island saw $2.02 million come into its coffers as compared with $1.98 million the previous year.
Overall, the five East End towns saw CPF incomes that were the fifth highest annual total in the 18-year history of the program, Mr. Thiele said.
Southampton and East Hampton both realized less in 2016 than in the previous year with East Hampton bringing in 6.9 percent less in CPF money — $26.89 million last year as compared with $28.89 million.
Southampton saw an 8.7 percent drop from $60 million in 2015 to $54.76 million last year.
Riverhead took in $3.39 million last year as compared with $3.17 million the year before for a 6.9 percent increase. Southold saw a 6.7 percent increase, bringing in $6.67 million last year as compared with $6.25 million the year before.
Since its inception in 1999, the Community Preservation Fund has generated $1.187 billion to invest in land preservation. But last November, voters in all five East End towns voted to allow up to 20 percent of CPF revenues going forward to be allotted to specific water quality projects.
“Real estate sales on the East End have plateaued since reaching a record high in 2014,” Mr. Thiele said. The 2016 numbers are 13 percent lower than they were in 2014, he added.
But given economic forecasts for 2017, the legislator said the outlook for CPF revenues is strong.
“Of course, the East End will have to closely watch any changes in tax policy from Washington in 2017 that might affect the real estate industry,” he said.
Despite the Island’s numbers lagging most of 2016, real estate professionals recently weighed in on the local market (see Reporter story, January 19), with most saying they weren’t idle last year, but were seeing more sales of houses that were priced under $1 million.