From the Philly Inquirer:
From the second-story deck of his aunt’s rental property near 20th and Central, real estate agent Bill Godfrey points out the ocean view a block away and the surrounding Gold Coast neighborhood as just two of the unit’s special amenities.
But what potential summer renters really want to know about the place is how the flatware looks and what kind of wine glasses are in the cupboard, Godfrey said.
“Oh, and how new the mattresses are,” Godfrey notes as among the nitty-gritty details that customers want to know before they are willing to plunk down as much as $4,000 for a week’s stay in this unit during the summer’s “high season.”
And getting precisely what they want when they walk through the door may be what is driving those renters to sign on the dotted line seemingly earlier and earlier each year. Rentals in Ocean City’s prime “high season” — from mid-July to mid-August — start at around $1,500 a week for a one-bedroom condo and go as high as $18,000 a week for a seven-bedroom house on the beach.
Marr Agency, where Godfrey works, and other real estate agencies in this Cape May County barrier island resort — and in towns from Long Beach Island south to Cape May — report that the number of signed contracts and deposits on summer rentals by the beginning of February were up by as much as 33 percent over the same time last year.
And while the bottom line on rental profits may ultimately stay mostly stagnant year to year because there are only so many units and so many weeks in the summer, an early rush on rentals may signal a strong 2017 Shore summer season with regard to tourism spending in other sectors, like restaurants, amusements, retail, and activities, according to experts.
Tourism is big business in New Jersey. The state’s second-largest industry attracted 95 million people to the Garden State, raked in a whopping $43.4 billion, and accounted for 318,000 jobs in 2015. And those numbers have been on a steady increase over the last decade.