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Island real estate sales still solid

Shelter Island continues to show a turnaround in its Community Preservation Fund (CPF) income, reflecting positive news for property sales.

Money for the CPF comes from a 2 percent tax that buyers pay when purchasing East End properties and is used in turn to purchase open space for preservation and fund water protection programs.

Only Southold, of the other East End towns, had positive real estate numbers, although those are lower than the Island’s.

For the first eight months of 2019, Shelter Island is maintaining a 32.5% increase in CPF money, bringing in $1 million as compared to $770,000 for the same eight months of 2018.

Southold improved its revenues for the first eight months of 2019 by nearly 4%, bringing in $5 million, compared with $4.9 million for the same period last year.

Riverhead was down 32.5%, netting $2.2 million for those months this year compared with $3.20 million it brought in last year. East Hampton also saw a drop in its CPF revenues, down 32.5%. Southampton saw a decline by 17%.

In releasing the numbers, Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) said for all five towns the CPF revenues had toppled by 20.9%, garnering $52.82 million in the first eight months of this year, as compared with $66.79 million for the same period in 2018.

“CPF revenues remain substantially lower,” Mr. Thiele said. But he noted that revenues have stabilized in the past three months and more closely resemble revenues typical in 2018.

In May, revenues were down 27.4% for the year while the reduction through August this year is at 20.9%.

“Still, every month in 2019 is less than the corresponding month for 2018,” Mr. Thiele said.

He has been cautioning decision makers on the East End to spend carefully during the downswing.

The fund began in 1999 and has generated $1.435 billion, of which $85 million came in during the first eight months of this year.