East End Preservation Revenues Set Record Amount in 2020

55 Coopers Neck Lane, Southampton
The house at 55 Cooper’s Neck Lane in Southampton, which sold in December for $33.7 million, was among the top home sales in 2020. Credit: Saunders & Associates

In 2020, East End real estate boomed as people fled New York City for the space the Hamptons and the North Fork afford. People not only came here, but they invested in property and ultimately an unexpected benefit of the pandemic ended up being a big boost to the preservation coffers.

The Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund revenues for the first 11 months of 2020 total $118.11 million, compared with $69.29 million one year earlier — a whopping 70.5 % higher than 2019, according to Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., the program’s architect 22 years ago.

While the year-end figures will not be available until late January or early February, the CPF has already generated more revenue in 2020 than any year in the history of the program, which began in 1999, Thiele says.

“There is no question that COVID-19 has transformed the real estate market on the East End, as residents have fled the congestion of New York City for the safety of the small towns of eastern Long Island,” says Thiele.
“The summer season began in March and never ended. Both rentals and sales have spiked over the last 10 months. This is directly reflected in the 2% real estate transfer tax revenues that finance the CPF,” he continues. “At a time when government budgets have been busted due to the economic losses caused by the pandemic, CPF revenues are at the highest level in the 20 year history of the program. Those revenues will provide greater resources to implement initiatives for land and water conservation across the region.”

In November 2020, $15.5 million was generated, the second largest revenue total for a single month in the history of the program. The revenue generated in October 2020 was the highest in a single month in program history at $17.93, topping $14.43 million in December 2014. CPF revenues for the same month last year were $5.95 million.

Most buyers have to pay a 2% CPF tax at closing, which goes into a fund that each town can used toward preserving open land. Since its inception, the tax has generated $1.578 billion.

Southampton Town has seen the largest increase based on the most up-t0-date data with an 85.7% rise over 2019. Closing in Southampton have generated $68.69 million as compared to $36.98 million a year earlier.

The Town of East Hampton saw a 66% increase so far in 2020, taking in $34.69 million over $20.9 million in 2019.

Over on Shelter Island, the town has received $2.31 million, while it only took in $1.41 million the prior year, translating to a 63.8% increase.

The market in Riverhead Town produced a 23.8% in the first 11 months of the year with $34.69 million being collected for the fund. In 2019, $20.90 million had been taken in.

Lastly, Southold Town saw a bump of 22.3% year over year, a boost from $6.85 million in 2019 to $8.38 million in 2020.

We will see where the final numbers fall when the data from last month of 2020 is available.

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