It’s been almost a decade after superstorm Sandy ravaged most of the Jersey Shore, but the Covid-19 pandemic prompted a flood of individuals to relocate to coastal regions full-time, and the Jersey Shore’s economy is booming.
Many things have changed in the last year, including the sights and noises that many of us wake up to each day. Instead of the hustle and bustle, those who have relocated to the Jersey Shore are greeted by squawking seagulls and stunning sunrises.
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Once people make the decision to live at the beach full-time, the environment they enjoy changes dramatically. The fragrance of the sea, the sound of the waves, and the weather here give the impression of being in a completely different state. Buying a home in Ocean County may have started for many people primarily for the purpose of summer vacations a few years ago, but that thinking has changed in recent months.
Seaside Heights, one of several communities along the New Jersey shoreline, is a hive of activity as new condos and single-family houses are being built. New restaurants are opening along the boardwalk, and a new luxury pool and cabana club is being erected. A number of sites along Boulevard, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, are in the planning phases or are already under construction, including condos and ground-level retail businesses.
Ocean County, NJ, is one of many counties across the United States that has experienced a wave of migration during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a Wall Street Journal examination of US Postal Service permanent change-of-address statistics through 2020. In 2020, Ocean County gained 7,000 households as individuals moved from urban areas to less densely populated locations. People relocating from New York City and northern New Jersey accounted for the majority of the influx, which was up 40% from the previous year.
The Jersey Shore, like many other close-to-urban communities around the country, witnessed more people moving in than out in the aftermath of the pandemic. According to a Bloomberg survey, around 21% more people relocated into the Ocean City neighborhood than left the year before.
The epidemic was a major factor in individuals packing their belongings and loading their moving vehicles. The Jersey Shore has long been renowned as a tourist spot where the population rises during the summer months as people visit their second homes. More people are taking advantage of remote job opportunities and relocating to the area full-time.
The county’s economic development was boosted by the population expansion, which increased the tax base by $3.3 billion to $110 billion in 2020, the highest level since Hurricane Sandy devastated the area in 2012.
Many city dwellers have decided to opt for the laid-back atmosphere of a seaside home where they may work from home, even after the offices and economy in North Jersey and New York have reopened.
The real estate market has been brisk everywhere, so when potential sellers find an opportunity to leave a region that has grown unappealing due to overcrowding or Covid limitations, they may consider selling and moving south.
Is there anything negative about living on the Jersey Shore?
Many year-round beach dwellers complain about the influx of weekend visitors throughout the summer, and the amount of people is what many visitors recall most about summer vacation weekends.
Of course, being able to stay at the beach, where rentals are pricey and space is limited, is a privilege. Unsurprisingly, some locals believe that weekend visitors have an attitude of entitlement when they visit. Such individuals are known as Bennys along the northern half of the beach, after the towns they hail from: Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, and New York. Residents in the south refer to them as Shoobies. Bennys and Shoobies have a habit of speeding, ignoring traffic signals, and traveling in groups.
Some beach towns, particularly those that were once middle-class, are undergoing a transformation. Small cottages are being replaced with two-story homes, and the population is becoming less seasonal.
Some of the residents who built the communities’ foundations can no longer afford to live there. New construction is changing the aesthetic—and potentially the reputation—of Sea Bright, a sliver of beach on the northern edge of the shore.
Many people wish New Jersey’s beaches were free to everybody, but they aren’t (most towns require beach tags). They enjoy the beach for the same reasons that most people do: you can wear flip-flops to dinner, ride a bike into town, wake up with ocean vistas, and smell the sea-salt air whenever you want.
New, high priced real estate was built along most of the oceanfront after Sandy, replacing structures that were destroyed by the storm.
Who are the individuals who are flocking to the beach towns?
A home near the Jersey Shore is an easy concession to make whether you are a first-time home buyer, a family seeking for additional room and good school districts, professionals or executives taking advantage of remote working alternatives, or empty nesters wishing to downsize. In densely crowded Bergen, Hudson, and Middlesex Counties in New Jersey, people are giving up apartments, townhouses, and homes on smaller lots.
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Last year, the Central Regional school system reported a 30 percent spike in enrollment as people elected to wait out the pandemic in their bungalows just blocks from the beach in Jersey Shore communities. Many parents have chosen to live full time in their vacation homes, which are a two-hour drive or more from Manhattan-based companies, in order to enroll their children in schools that provide in-person instruction while also allowing them to enjoy their backyard and tend to a vegetable garden.
Living by the water provides a person calm and happiness. You might not know how stressful city life and a long commute are harming your health and happiness.
Some people who want to live permanently at the Jersey Shore may have to decide whether or not they need to return to the office and how frequently they would have to go there. Many people who relocated during the pandemic are waiting to hear from their employers about whether they will have to return to work.
Since November, there has been a scarcity of residences on the market in the neighborhood. Since last spring, when residents in New York and North Jersey were looking for a safe haven during the pandemic, shore real estate has been in high demand.
In a typical year, the inventory of properties for sale in Wildwood would be approximately 1,200 to 1,400. It’s 157 this year.
The majority of folks are on the lookout for second houses. Primary home purchasers account for around 5% to 10% of sales this year, which is about average.
Buyers must still act quickly and be willing to pay more than the advertised price at this moment. The market was supposed to settle at the beach in the fall, but it hasn’t happened as of the end of October, 2021.
Due to bidding wars, a handful of homes in the region have sold for 60, 70, and 80,000 dollars over asking price in 2021.
Sandy wreaked havoc on several areas, including Seaside Heights. The roller coaster, which was washed into the water from the city’s famous promenade, became an iconic image of the disaster. The town gradually recovered, and insurance companies compelled many residents to raise their homes to reduce the risk of future flooding. The boardwalk was also replaced, and restaurants, arcades, and souvenir shops were reopened.
Buyers were wary of buying properties near the water in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. According to the state, the storm damaged or destroyed 346,000 residences in New Jersey, leaving 20,000 housing units completely uninhabitable.
It’s as if Sandy never happened in today’s frenzied housing market. People have entirely forgotten about it, and as a result, those valuations have skyrocketed.
Property near the previously developed Jersey Shore is likewise seeing intense competition from developers. Because there are few vacant properties, most developers compete to buy existing structures to demolish and rebuild new residences or remodel old ones. The price of these beachfront parcels has been driven up by an inflow of bidders from northern New Jersey and New York City.
There are advantages and disadvantages for folks who want to relocate from the city to their Jersey Shore summer home full-time. They may already own the property and have set themselves up to work remotely from a beach town location, but do they have enough space to make it their permanent home?
They began to spend more time at the beach house than at their permanent residence, and they became so enamored with it that they considered moving here full-time. The trouble was that their beach house, which was only designed to be a brief respite, was too small to live in all year.
If you’re thinking about selling your beach house, keep in mind that inventory is limited. Frequently, it appears like the “For Sale” sign barely makes contact with the grass.
In recent years, Seaside Heights has been redefining itself. The municipality no longer wants visitors to identify it with the stereotype that arose as a result of the reality show “Jersey Shore.” Nightclubs and wet T-shirt contests have been banned by new legislation, and the town now offers more family-friendly activities.
The mayor is hoping that the inflow of new people would spur the development of new businesses.
Working from home, it’s not uncommon for professionals to take a 30-minute break to walk their dog along the boardwalk before returning to their workplace.
Small adjustments in their surroundings can also bring a lot of joy to people. The fragrances of the boardwalk, the salt air, the seagulls, the tropical sunscreen, the French fries… these are smells you don’t get up north. When it gets particularly quiet at night, you may sometimes hear the ocean. Those sounds and fragrances entice those who want to relocate here with their nostalgia.