Real estate transfer returns spike 35 percent

PETER BOODY PHOTO | Sylvester Manor, where the town this year has spent about $1.85 million 2-percent funds to help preserve two farm fields totalling about 80 acres.

Thanks to an uptick in the value of local real estate transactions this year, Shelter Island’s Community Preservation Fund is practically flush — not compared to the glory days of the booming market but compared to the darkest days of the continuing real estate slump.

Receipts from the Island’s 2-percent tax on real estate transactions are up more than 35 percent over what the town budgeted for 2012 with a month to go before the end of the year. The money is used to fund open space purchases.

Through November, the town has collected $1,086,500 in 2-percent tax revenues, far exceeding the $800,000 that was predicted in the 2012 budget, Supervisor Jim Dougherty reported at Tuesday’s Town Board work session.

The most recent check from the county, which collects the tax when deed transfers are recorded, was for November and  totaled $125,265, Mr. Dougherty said. It was the seventh month for the town with 2-percent revenues above $100,000, he said, after a very slow start to the year from January through April.

Mr. Dougherty said three sales in particular kept the number high for November, with one property on Ram Island Road bringing in $24,000 and another yielding $48,000. A property on Peconic Avenue in Silver Beach brought in $33,500.

Before the real estate slump that followed the stock market crash of 2008, numbers were much higher. In 2005, for example, Shelter Island collected $2,019,093. Last year, the town collected $824,328.