C.P.F. Drops by 45 Percent

The preservation fund provides money for land preservation and water quality improvement with proceeds of a 2-percent real estate transfer tax imposed by the five East End towns. Durell Godfrey

A sluggish East End real estate market in January produced less than $5.5 million in revenues for the Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund, a nearly 45-percent decline from the same period last year, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced on Monday. It was the lowest monthly total in almost six years. 

The preservation fund, which provides money for land preservation and water quality improvement, receives the proceeds of a 2-percent real estate transfer tax imposed by the five East End towns: East Hampton, Southampton, Shelter Island, Southold, and Riverhead. East Hampton posted the largest decline in C.P.F. tax revenues last month, raising less than $1.5 million, compared to more than $3 million in January 2018. Riverhead was the only town in which the tax revenue increased — by $60,000 — over the previous year. Southampton’s C.P.F. revenues were down nearly 47 percent, Shelter Island’s almost 29 percent, and Southold’s nearly 26 percent. 

Mr. Thiele cited the plunging stock market as one of the main reasons for the real estate downturn. In a prepared statement about the decrease in C.P.F. money, he pointed out that the stock market in 2018 “experienced its worst year since 2008, the beginning of the Great Recession, and its worst December since the Great Depression in 1931.” So far this year, however, the market has rebounded, he said. 

He also cautioned against using the numbers from January to predict how the real estate market will fare during the rest of the year. “At least a quarter of a year of data is required to determine whether the revenue drop . . . is an aberration or a significant change,” Mr. Thiele said.