COVID-19 may not have plunged CPF revenues after all

Real Estate Market Rising

Peconic Bay Preservation Fund revenues for the first quarter of the year indicated a robust East End real estate market ready to explode . . . until the novel coronavirus reared its ugly head.

State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, one of the authors of the Community Preservation Fund legislation, said last week a full four-month accounting of this year thus far revealed a 60 percent increase over the same four months in 2019, although sales ground to a halt after the spread of COVID-19 forced authorities to limit social encounters.

There have been noted delays in obtaining estimates, surveys, title searches, and bank-related functions needed to close a deal.

So far through April, the five towns will divvy up $38.02 million in CPF revenues, up from $23.94 a year earlier. April revenues were about the same both years — $7.4 million.

Since its inception in 1999, the Peconic Bay Regional Community Preservation Fund has generated $1.499 billion. The 2-percent tax under the CPF expires in 2050.

“Despite the institution of NY PAUSE in mid-March, CPF revenues were strong for the month of April and virtually identical to last April,” Thiele said. “Clearly, real estate activity has continued across the East End over the past month. Revenues will need to be monitored closely in the coming months during this very volatile economic time.”

The Town of East Hampton added almost $10 million to its coffers, up from $8.4 million during the first four months of 2019. The Town of Riverhead jumped over 50 percent to $1.58 million; Shelter Island’s share of the pie was $630,000, also an increase of over 50 percent. The Town of Southampton’s $23.31 million was almost double the previous amount. Southold Town took in $2.82 million, up over 34 percent.