Shore Rentals Post-Sandy? [AUDIO]
The Jersey shore certainly won't be back to normal by summer 2013, and it may never go back to the way we knew it before October 29 of last year, but officials and realtors along New Jersey's coast say renting definitely remains an option.
In Seaside Heights, home of the submerged rollercoaster that is essentially "the image" of Superstorm Sandy, Michael Loundy with Seaside Realty said he's very encouraged by the state and federal money headed to the town.
"Our boardwalk is going to be rebuilt over the next 100 days, and our businesses will follow," Loundy said.
Although a solid number can't be expected for another few weeks, Loundy estimated that between 60 and 70 percent of Seaside Heights' rental properties will be ready for occupants this summer.
"We will be ready. Seaside Heights will be ready," Loundy added.
On Long Beach Island, also part of Ocean County and also hit hard by the storm, the outlook is even brighter. Rental bookings have been a bit slower because of the mandatory evacuations into late last year, but about 90 percent of LBI's rental units should be ready to enter.
"The perception far exceeds the reality of what LBI looks like," explained Pat Sepanak with Sand Dollar Real Estate.
The "perception" has been an obstacle for much of the Jersey shore.
In Cape May County, which was more bruised than devastated by Sandy, officials have been working to spread the message to New Jerseyans: if you want to avoid the hardest-hit areas, you don't have to leave the state.
Diane Wieland, Director of the Cape May County Department of Tourism, said rental units should be "99% back on board" by summer.
"Right now, after the holidays, families are formulating their plans for vacation," Wieland said. "We want to make sure that we're not going to be left out."
Her department is also reaching out to markets in other states, letting people know that much of Jersey's shoreline is still in great shape.
At this time, Monmouth County could not offer an estimate on how many of its 10,000 rental properties may be available this summer. The county makes about $263 million in rental revenue each year.