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Top Stories 2021: Hot real estate market clashes with need for affordable housing

The North Fork is certainly having a moment.

Fueled by the pandemic, buyers looking to the East End have driven home prices up sharply.

In the first quarter of 2021, the area’s median sales price grew 18.1% to $620,000, according to a report for the Hamptons and North Fork from Brown Harris Stevens. 

The hot market has had to compete with low inventory. As the year went on, fewer and fewer “For Sale” signs were visible.

According to Brown Harris Stevens, the third quarter saw fewer sales. Though total dollar volume fell, at $182 million it’s still the second-highest recorded third-quarter amount.

The average sale price was up 20.6% compared with the third quarter 2021. In Jamesport the average sale price rose to $759,233, up from $407,188. It’s similar story in Mattituck ($1,132,272 vs. $695,484), and Southold ($1,102,723 vs. $694,401.) 

Rising home sales have provided an influx of funding for the Community Preservation Fund, a 2% real estate tax that can be used for open space and farmland protection programs.

For the first ten months of 2021, the fund totaled $177.37 million—72.9% more than the $102.61 million collected during the same period in 2020.

But the housing market boom has also led to renewed calls for affordable housing.

In April, civic associations across the North Fork teamed up with town officials for a forum on the issue which was described as “beyond crisis.”

There are currently about 400 names on the town’s affordable housing registry.

While the town has seen some success with affordable housing, including the Vineyard View apartment complex in Greenport, there have also been setbacks. Southold Town rejected a change of zone for affordable apartments on Depot Lane in Cutchogue after neighbors waged a petition against it.

Several projects remain pending, including a plan for 14 affordable apartments on property adjacent to Town Hall. Local developer Paul Pawlowski has also proposed a mixed-use development with up to 40 affordable apartments at the southeast corner of Route 48 and Main Street in Greenport.