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Weather blamed for cut in Island’s CPF funds

COURTESY PHOTO | Shelter Island's take from the Community Preservation Fund  is off for 2014.
COURTESY PHOTO | Shelter Island’s take from the Community Preservation Fund is off for 2014.

Numbers don’t lie, but they don’t always reflect what’s happening.

That’s the way two Island real estate representatives reacted to news of Shelter Island’s Community Preservation Fund disappointing results for the first four months of 2014. A third real estate pro isn’t sure what the downturn holds for the year.

All three — Susan Cincotta of Daniel Gale/Sotheby’s International, Penelope Moore of Saunders and Melina Wein of M. Wein Realty — agree that the brutal winter weather probably contributed to the fact that the Island recorded only $539,475 in payments to the Community Preservation Fund (also known as the “2  percent fund”), a 24 percent downturn from the same period in 2013.

But Southampton, East Hampton, Riverhead and Southold, with the same weather,  all saw increases.

Southampton led the way with $18.48 million added to its CPF coffer in the first four months of the year, followed by East Hampton with $7.94 million; Riverhead with $1.38 million; and Southold with $1.31 million.

The numbers were released by Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor). They reflect a 2 percent tax on real estate transactions in the area that is paid by buyers.

“Shelter Island is not the Hamptons,” Ms. Wein said. But she thinks the foul weather combined with “smart buyers” watching for the right pricing before settling on a purchase are factors that affected a slow start in 2014.

“I think Al Hammond has been right on the mark,” she said, referring to the town’s tax assessor, whose estimates of property values have tended, over the long term, to reflect the prices owners have secured for their properties.

At the same time, Ms. Wein thinks May numbers will be more promising.

Despite the early numbers, Ms. Cincotta sees the Shelter Island real estate market as “hot,” despite what she describes as “a slow start” this year.

“Buyers are very savvy,” Ms. Cincotta said. But those properties that have sold have shown “an uptick” in prices and she sees a number of properties in contract. What’s more, a number of properties that have long been on the market have begun to sell and news properties are coming on the market this spring, Ms. Cincotta said.

“We have had some good sales,” she said and by the end of the year, she expects the CPF contributions to reflect very positive numbers.

“I wouldn’t get too concerned about early numbers,” Ms. Moore said.

A major property on the Island that listed for $7.8 million sold for $7.5, an indication that the Shelter Island real estate market is healthy, she said. She expects May CPF numbers will reflect a number of closings.

“We really didn’t have a spring selling season,” Ms. Moore said, noting that winter weather persisted until summer-like temperatures emerged recently. A lot of potential buyers sat on the sidelines while potential sellers were waiting for “the right numbers” to begin to emerge on values, she said.

As properties sell at higher prices, they influence what other sellers can ask, Ms. Moore said.

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