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Real estate market red hot; preservation funds spike in first quarter

Real estate sales in the five East End towns spiked more than 60 percent during the first quarter of 2020, compared with the same period last year.

The Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund (CPF), an accurate marker of real estate activity, saw revenues of $38.3 million for the first four months of this year, while the fund took in $23.9 million from January through April 2019.

Money for the CPF comes from a 2% 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.

According to figures released by Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), Shelter Island’s CPF fund took in $630,000 during the first quarter of 2020, compared to $410,000 last year.

Southampton saw the largest revenue-jump, with CPF funds totaling $23.3 million, more than $11 million more than last year.

“Despite the institution of NY PAUSE in mid-March, CPF revenues were strong for the month of April and virtually identical to last April,” Mr. Thiele reported. “Clearly, real estate activity has continued across the East End over the past month.”

But in these uncertain times, the assemblyman added a note of caution: “Revenues will need to be monitored closely in the coming months during this very volatile economic time.”

Since its inception in 1999, the Peconic Bay CPF has generated $1.5 billion for preservation efforts on the East End.