BY GINA G. SCALA
Nearly three months after Hurricane Sandy obliterated much of the Jersey Shore, restoration is in full swing but for some New Jerseyans things are not moving at the pace they are accustomed.
To be fair, there is a lot at stake. Sandy’s destructive path ran through much of the coastline’s attractions, including the Seaside Heights and Belmar boardwalks. Shore tourism accounts for about $16 billion annually of the state’s economy, and that isn’t counting Atlantic City casinos, or about 3.4 percent, the Bergen Record reported.
While it averages to about $45 million a day, spread over the entire year, the bulk of the revenue comes between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to the Bergen Record.
“What I am really shooting for is, what can we hope the Shore will look like by the 4th of July weekend,” Gov. Chris Christie said in an interview with the Bergen Record recently.
It might not matter if the attractions are fully put together in Monmouth and Ocean counties if the summer rental inventory isn’t there.
“I don’t see the demand lessening because of the storm. I think people are still going to be attracted to the Shore. I still think people will want to summer at the Shore,” Cheryl Laperriere, who manages the Coldwell Banker real estate office in Rumson, told the Star Ledger of Newark.
Their only option, she said, is to move further down the coast; into Atlantic and Cape May counties.
Roughly more than half of the Childers Sotheby’s International Realty’s summer rentals should be available for the summer. But owner Lee Childers told the Star Ledger of Newark the number will vary from town-to-town.
“In Lavallette it could be as high as 90 percent,” he said in the same interview. “Ortley Beach it could be 20 percent.”
And then there are the annual weekly renters who return every summer for the same week. Those renters seem to want to return to the area to support it, Mary Ann Wissel, chief executive officer of the Ocean County Board of Realtors, said.
“If you are a week renter for the same seasonal week in the summer, you’re used to that crowd and it becomes a big family gathering,” she said.