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Trend in real estate market is straight up

It just gets better for the real estate business on Shelter Island and the rest of the East End.

An already sizzling market saw a straight-up trend continue, with the Community Preservation Fund  (CPF) banking $61.1 million for the first seven months of 2020 compared with $46.8 million for the same period in 2019. That’s a 30.6% jump.

The CPF is one of the most accurate markers of real estate sales. 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.

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), whose legislative efforts created the CPF in 1999, reported this week that the recent spike in sales that increased the CPFs coffers is “the most for the first seven months of a year in the history of the program.”

From January to July this year, Shelter Island’s take of the 2% tax has been $1.02 million, compared to $0.87 million last year over the same time frame, or a spike of 17.2%.

The big winner for the East End in CPF funds is Southampton, which saw a jump of 39.7%, with Riverhead right behind with an increase of 35.6%. East Hampton came in with an increase of 27.1%. Southold was the only town that saw a decline in revenue, with a minus 11.8%, compared to the same period in 2019.

The boom in the real estate market started early, fueled by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, with people moving from places west of the East End to settle here.

Transfer data published by Suffolk Research Service shows 53 residential closings in the towns of Southold, Riverhead and Shelter Island in the final two weeks in April this year — up 35% from the 34 transfers reported a year ago.

That’s growth during a state-imposed shutdown, which limited how the real estate industry could interact with the public.

Since its inception 21 years ago, the CPF has taken in $1.522 billion.