Looking for a Shore rental? COVID-19 means many are still available
If your vacation plans changed in the face of the public health crisis, but the state's reopening efforts have put a road trip back on the table for you and your family, securing a rental property along or near New Jersey's coast should be a little easier this year than most.
The coronavirus emergency has led to the opening of properties that likely would have been booked otherwise, typically by families that reserve the same properties for the same weeks each year.
But if you're looking to nab one, keep in mind you have plenty of company with a similar idea, and the official start to summer is less than a week away.
"There's still a lot of properties available for late July, early August," said Joe Zarroli, broker/owner of Island Realty Group in North Wildwood.
Business at his office wasn't walloped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Zarroli estimates 10% of rentals for summer 2020 were cancelled or pushed off to 2021, as folks waited as long as they could before determining whether or not a summer vacation could happen.
"The heart of July is jam-packed, so it doesn't seem like it's affected us all that much," Zarroli said.
And as more options become available for visitors — outdoor dining and recreational activities, for example — Zarroli expects more interest from road-trippers.
Gov. Phil Murphy allowed outdoor dining and in-person shopping at non-essential retail establishments to resume on June 15. Public and private pools were given clearance to reopen on June 22. Beaches are accessible, along with boardwalk eateries and shops, but arcades and amusement rides remain closed with no estimated date for a relaunch.
Mike Loundy, broker for Seaside Realty, said interest in rentals spiked once reopening efforts started to make daily headlines in New Jersey. And more calls than usual, he said, are seeking stays longer than a week.
"It's an extended spring fever. People really need to get a break," Loundy said. "We're optimistic at this point, but we really can't do the math until we're in September."
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.