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Preservation fund revenue drops

A for sale sign posted in front of

A for sale sign posted in front of a house. Credit: IStock

Revenues to the Community Preservation Fund — seen as a barometer of home sales on the East End — are down 6 percent from last year, with all towns but East Hampton showing declines.

Assemb. Fred W. Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) reported the revenues, which gives a glimpse into the health of the real estate market in the East End communities. In the first six months of 2012, $29.62 million came into the fund, compared to $31.51 million for the same six-month period in 2011.

Money for the preservation fund, which was established in 1999, is generated by a 2 percent real estate tax that exempts the first $250,000 of the sale of a home. All five East End towns participate. The money can be used only for land preservation within the town.

Statistically speaking, houses are selling. The number of home sales increased, even if the houses seemed to be selling for less, according to data released by Thiele. For the first six months of 2012, there were 3,051 home sales, compared to 2,883 in the same period the year before, Thiele’s report noted.

Total CPF revenue for all five towns has reached more than three-quarters of a billion dollars, about $752 million, since the fund’s inception, according to the report.

East Hampton, the only town with increased revenue thus far this year, generated $7.11 million in the first six months last year and $9 million in the same period this year, a 26 percent increase.

Southold’s CPF revenue dipped from $1.69 million to $1.63 million, a 3 percent decrease. In Riverhead, the fund saw a 14 percent decrease, from $95,000 to $81,000.

Shelter Island, the smallest of the towns, saw its numbers drop from $43,000 to $38,000, a 23 percent decrease.

Southampton, with the largest amount of funds, saw an 11 percent decrease, from $21.33 million to $17.79 million.


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