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Red hot real estate: CPF figures break record

Most East End businesses have suffered because the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has shut them down for long periods of time, and even when opened, many potential customers are still wary of going out.

But one business— real estate — is red hot and seeing numbers that are the best in 20 years.

Figures released by the office of Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) show that, for the first five months of this year, the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund (CPF) took in revenues of $45.43 million. In January to May last year, the money banked by the CPF was $29.42 billion. The increase this year represents a 54.4% spike, or the highest five-month cash total in the history of the fund, according to Mr. Thiele.

Money for the CPF, which became law in 1999, comes from a 2% tax that buyers pay when purchasing properties in the five East End towns, and is used in turn to purchase open space for preservation and fund water protection programs.

In May alone, $7.1 million was collected, compared to $5.48 for May 2019.

Shelter Island’s real estate sales for the first five months of 2020 brought in $690,000, a 35.3 increase over last year. That percentage figure led the pack of four other towns, but couldn’t come close to Southampton’s rise of 82.3%.

The only town that secured less preservation money than the same period last year was Southold, which dropped 1.3%.

Since its inception, the CPF has generated $1.506 billion. The 2% tax under the CPF expires in 2050.

Comunity Preservation Fund figures for January-May 2020

2020($) 2019($) % increase
East Hampton 12.34m 9.38m +31.6%
Riverhead 1.71m 1.27m +34.6%
Shelter Island 0.69m 0.51m +35.3%
Southampton 27.60m 15.14m +82.3%
Southold 3.08m 3.12m -1.3%

Total 45.43m 29.42m +54.4%
Statistics provided by the office of Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr.