When Suffolk County’s online services were disrupted by hackers in September, reporting of real estate transfer tax revenues was interrupted for three months. Numbers are now being updated once again, with the latest report from Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.’s office showing that year-to-year community preservation fund revenues in the five East End towns have fallen more than 17 percent over all.
East Hampton Town saw a 17.7-percent decline in revenue, which totaled $61 million in the first eight months of 2021 but $50.2 million during the same time frame in 2022. Southampton Town’s decline in C.P.F. revenue was 20.7 percent, with $110.95 million in receipts between January and August of 2021 and $87.97 million one year later.
Mr. Thiele said in a statement that “there can be no doubt that there has been a significant cooling of real estate activities on the East End in the last few months.” He attributed it to “the inevitable bursting of the Covid-19 market bubble, increased interest rates, stock market declines over 2022, predictions of a coming recession, or some combination of these factors.”
The only East End town that posted an increase in C.P.F. revenue was Riverhead, which took in $7.89 million in the first eight months of 2022 as compared to $6.26 million in the first eight months of 2021, an increase of about 26 percent.
Across all five East End towns, the C.P.F. took in $160.78 million during this time period in 2022, compared to $195.05 million the year before. The money comes from a 2-percent real estate transaction tax paid by the purchasers that can then be doled out by each town for land conservation, farmland preservation, historic easements, recreational space, and water quality projects.