BY DON STINE
Summer rentals at the Jersey Shore seem to be off to a slow start this year but local realtors said they remain optimistic that things will pick up once the weather becomes warmer.
Richard Davidson, with Remax Shore and Country, has been doing summer rentals since 1986. He said family summer rentals are a little behind for this time of the year.
“I think some people are still in a wait-and-see mode,” he said. Davidson said that Bradley Beach summer rentals are doing better than in other communities, adding that may be because Bradley Beach had little serious damage from the Superstorm Sandy.
“I think people also want to see if the surrounding towns are up and running. Before people commit to a rental they want to see if things are up and running,” he said.
“Some towns are promising to be ready for the summer season and I think people are waiting to see the finished product, so they may be holding off. But renters are usually coming out of hibernation around this time and I’ll know better in a few weeks,” he said.
Angela Holder, a broker/manager with Jack Green Realty in Ocean Grove, also said it has been a slow start for the summer rental season so far.
“I think people are hesitant because they are not sure what areas will be available. But I also feel the other big factor is the weather, it’s been remaining too cold and people are not thinking about summer vacation yet,” she said.
Holder said rentals are slowly starting to move but that it is nothing like it has been over the past few years.
“I had already had a good percentage of summer rentals by this time last year,” she said.
She said that an average four-bedroom house near the beach in Ocean Grove can rent for about $2,500 to $3,000 a week, with small, one-bedroom condos further inland going for about $1,000 a week.“I remain optimistic and I think things will improve once the weather turns a bit,” she said.
Holder said she would like to see the state get more involved in helping promote the Jersey Shore as a destination this summer.
“The Jersey Shore is still alive and people are not aware of that. I think the state needs to promote it better,” she said.
Alfredo Fresnedo, an associate with Century 21 Coastal Realtors in Ocean Grove, said he is getting some summer rentals, with some going as early as February. “I think a lot of people know there are fewer places to rent so several rentals that were available are now gone for season. It appears people are anticipating a shortage of summer rentals and want to secure something now,” he said.
Fresnedo said he believes it will be a strong summer rental season and that more contracts will be signed as people begin to see more activity down at the shore. “The fact that the boardwalk is damaged has not seemed to have any effect yet. People’s main concern is if the beach will be open,” he said.
But Fresnedo said that also having the Asbury Park boardwalk open always helps. “Weekly to seasonal, the inventory is getting slimmer every week,” he said.
Patrick Parker, owner of Patrick Parker Realty in Bradley Beach, said he believes things “are on the slower side right now.”He points out that there will be a lack of summer rentals in some Jersey Shore communities and that may help drive the market.
“It’s not happening as quickly as I thought it would but I expect it will pick up. I thought they would fly off the market right away but that doesn’t seem to be the case. People are not in that state of mind yet,” he said.“I am optimistic that all of my units will be rented. I just think we need a nice spring and some warm days,” he said.
Parker said he is not seeing any price-gouging on summer rentals because of a lack of units.“Rents seem to be in line and people are not trying to take advantage. But it could happen,” he said.