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Rising home prices, increased sales lead to strong year for East End land preservation fund

Assemb. Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) sponsored the

Assemb. Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) sponsored the legislation to create the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund, which will expire in 2030. Credit: Kathy Kmonicek, 2010

Rising prices of high-end homes on the East End, along with an overall increase in home sales compared to a year ago, has increased the money taken in by the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund this year by 47.5 percent, to $82.8 million.

The Fund gets its money from a special tax on real estate transfers in each East End town, and is used by those towns to buy undeveloped property and maintain property already purchased. It took in $56.2 million in the first 11 months of 2012.

Commonly called a 2 percent transfer tax, each town has adopted tax exemptions for first-time home buyers, so the tax does not add significantly to the cost of a modest house. The exemptions vary from town to town, because basic housing prices are typically higher in the Hamptons than on the North Fork.

There were 7,524 real estate sales subject to the tax this year, compared with 5,067 sales for the same period in 2012, according to  Assemb. Fred W. Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) who sponsored the legislation to create the special tax, which will expire in 2030.

On a percentage basis, Shelter Island saw the biggest gain in revenue, going to $2.03 million from $1.05 million last year. Southampton went to $48.5 million from $31.9 million, East Hampton to $25.8 million from $17.8 million, Riverhead to $2.3 from $2 million, and Southold to $4.1 million from $3.4 million.

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