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Jersey shore rentals slow in second post-Sandy season


Jersey shore rentals slow in second post-Sandy season

MARCH 16, 2014, 3:35 PM

TOMS RIVER — In a normal year, many of the prime summer beach house rentals at the Jersey shore would be gone already, snapped up by vacationers months in advance.

This is not a normal year, again.

As the second summer season following Superstorm Sandy approaches, shore rentals are still available because of a combination of factors keeping many renters from making up their minds as quickly as they had in years past. That’s good news for vacationers, who could have more options than usual, but not-so-great news for shore towns counting on this summer to be noticeably better than last year’s.

Cyndy Yates, of Valley Forge, Pa., is one of the late bookers. She decided last week on a place in Avalon because her usual rental is being renovated.

“We would make our decisions definitely by January at the very latest,” she said. “A lot of times, between November and the end of the year, we would know where we were going to rent.”

A big factor in the late-developing market, particularly in Ocean County, is the ongoing project to rebuild Route 35. That is the second-busiest highway at the shore, a crucial north-south route winding through beach towns that were among the hardest hit by the Oct. 29, 2012, storm. Lane closures, stop-and-go traffic and heavy equipment tearing up pavement have led to massive backups during the winter.

Another factor is uncertainty over which beaches will be open for the 2014 season as repairs continue in the worst-hit shore towns.

And a seemingly never-ending series of winter storms and frigid temperatures has kept people huddled inside instead of driving to the shore to check out potential vacation spots.

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