A quiet block. Reasonably priced. Okay to bring a dog.
Those are the requirements for the Gubanich family of Phoenixville, PA in their search for a house to rent in Ocean City, N.J. this summer. As the mercury soared toward 70 Thursday afternoon inland, the Gubanichs toured homes in the seaside resort.
“70 degree weather gets you in the mindset that summer is coming and vacation is coming. We just want to plan something quickly,” said Tenley Gubanich, who checked out rental properties with her parents.
Many others, though, already have their plans in place..
“Our office is at least 15 percent ahead of last year at this time,” real estate agent John Woolam of Prudential Fox and Roach in Ocean City told NBC10 News.
He said summer rentals, many of which can be done on the internet, have been steady since the fall.
“The four [prime season] middle weeks in the summer are going to be pretty much filled up very soon,” Woolam said, referring to the last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August.
In Cape May, agent Chris Bezaire with Coldwell Banker Sol Needles Real Estate is also seeing a surge in summer rental bookings.
“We’re up 11 percent over last year and over 39 percent compared to 2009…which, I think was the slowest year for us,” he said.
Bezaire said he’s heard from a number of disappointed people who waited too long to make their reservations.
“A lot of upset customers this year, unfortunately, because they’re calling in late February, early March to book and the properties they usually get aren’t there anymore because they’re already booked up,” Bezaire said.
The cost to rent, however, is generally not up. Rates have remained flat, according to real estate agents. They believe rising gasoline prices may be fueling the surge in rentals, with many people choosing to vacation closer to home this summer.
The Gubanich family traveled to North Carolina’s Outer Banks last summer. Tenley Gubanich said this year, they’ll spend a week in Ocean City instead.
“I think with the way the economy is, with money being tight, not too many people are willing to travel far,” she said.
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