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Island’s land preservation revenues continue to decline

Shelter Island Community Preservation Fund (CPF) revenues for 2018 reveal the decline in real estate transactions here.

CPF revenues are down  44.6 percent for 2018,  compared with the previous year. The town will garner $1.12 million from the 2 percent tax paid by property purchasers last year  — and used to buy open space for preservation in the five East end towns — compared with $2.02 that landed in town coffers in 2017.

Over the course of the 20-year program, Shelter Island has received $28.56 million in CPF money.

Southampton experienced a downturn in 2018, although not as sharp as Shelter Island’s. Southampton CPF revenues dropped from $56.41 million in 2017 to $53 million in 2018, a 6 percent decline.

Riverhead had the highest percentage return for 2018 compared with its revenues in 2017. CPF revenues for that town were up by 35.1 percent from $3.67 million in 2017 to $4.96 million in 2018. East Hampton CPF revenues rose by 20.3 percent from $26.65 million in 2017 to $32.07 million last year.

Southold also saw an increase from $7.16 million to $7.82 million for a 9.2 percent hike.

The overall East End CPF revenues for 2018 were the third highest in the 20-year history of the program, only exceeded in 2014 and 2015.

Since the inception of the program, the fund has generated a total of $1.382 billion for the five East End towns.

The real estate activity in 2018 has been strong except for Shelter Island and Southampton, Mr. Thiele said. But he noted that the federal tax changes enacted in 2018, including a $10,000 cap on deductions for new mortgages, may have contributed to some downturn.

“The new tax law and interest rate increases may have adversely impacted segments of the real estate market by increasing the cost of buying a house,” Mr. Thiele said.

But he said the impact doesn’t appear to have had much impact on high-end real estate transactions.

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