CBS News Story Doesn’t Accurately Reflect Rental Market in Ocean City

cbs news jersey shore rentals

CBS News found a single couple at the Jersey Shore (north of Atlantic City) who has had trouble renting their vacation property this year, so the network used it as a jumping off point for a story on how the vacation rental market is struggling in the US:

Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Maui, Hawaii, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, and San Diego, California have all seen a decline compared to last year, according to AirDNA, a tracking company that monitors the performance data of 10 million vacation rentals on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo. 

Jeannie Wheat, a seasoned realtor specializing in rentals at the Jersey Shore, said the 2023 vacation rental market in the area is down by approximately 15%. One five-bedroom home just a block and a half from the beach, which typically rents for $9,000 per week, is not fully booked, Wheat said. But this year, she has noticed more last-minute bookings. 

CBS News

As is always the case in real estate– location matters.

The Jersey Shore couple and realtor are from Monmouth County. And Airbnb data in San Diego is about as relevant to Ocean City as the price of grain in the midwest.

By all accounts, Ocean City and the real Jersey Shore (South of Atlantic City) market is still thriving.

So we checked with Kevin Laskowski, a realtor at Berger, which is the city’s leading rental agency by a wide margin. Here’s what he had to say:

“We are not seeing a decline at Berger. Keep in mind that we may even be unlike other South Jersey towns. OC is a family town with many activities for children and families. Demand is still high. I’m on the phone every day about tenants requests for 2024.

Kevin Laskowski

He says 2021 and 2022 were record years for rentals in Ocean City, and this year Berger projects to be even with last year in terms of rental volume, even with prices up.

That said, Berger has seen some availability and last-minute rentals extended into summer. They were maybe about 2% off their pace from last year as of last week, but expect to wind up in the same place.

They’ve even launched a page for last-minute discounts.

And there is some anecdotal data that Ocean City has topped out in terms of vacation demand, even with the similar rental volume.

The city reported a 7% decline in beach tag sales up to Memorial Day Weekend. And The Inquirer has happily run articles about people being “priced out” at the Shore.

Still, Ocean City officials claimed record crowds over Fourth of July weekend.

In short, this CBS News story is getting a lot of play around here, but it doesn’t necessary apply to Ocean City.

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