From the APP:
Jim Fuhse has rented property in Manasquan to summertime tourists since the early 1990s, through recessions and expansions, through sun and rain, so he can attest: This season is just, plain strange.
He had hoped the apparent end of the recession would unleash a pent-up demand, but that hasn’t been the case. Instead, he has gotten calls at the last minute from groups backing out because they couldn’t find enough friends to go in with them.
“It’s never been a worry before,” Fuhse said of trying to rent the home, three blocks from the beach. “It’s just unusual.”
The Shore’s summer rental market, an early indicator of the upcoming tourism season, remains solidly in the renters’ favor. They are waiting longer and asking for discounts. And they are causing landlords some sleepless nights.
For property owners, there is a lot at stake in getting their share. They depend on the summer months to pay the mortgage, taxes and insurance, and at least some of those expenses have risen sharply in recent years.
But their chances of keeping up with those costs by charging higher prices are slim. The recession has taken a toll on consumers. Some have lost their jobs. Others have found it tougher to find disposable income or borrow money for vacations.
Jerry Fahey, a real estate agent from Providence, R.I., symbolizes the mindset. He comes to the Shore virtually every year for a family reunion and rented a house last year on Long Beach Island for $2,500 a week.
This year? “We’re definitely looking for (a home for) less than that,” Fahey said. “You’d like to save a few dollars if you can, you know?”