“When I started here in 2001, there was a trend of people booking earlier and earlier,” Krug said. “They would say Presidents Day was the signal for people to come down and start making plans. Then it got to be New Year’s Day, and finally, it moved to November and even October. It had been falling backward, but it sprang forward last year. This year you’re going to see the same thing. All these things are pointing toward a late rush.”
An unusually harsh winter has also hurt the rental market so far.
“We see an actual spike in bookings when the snow is gone and the temperature moderates,” said Michael Loundy, a Seaside Heights real estate agent who rents properties including the beachfront house that served as home base for MTV’s “Jersey Shore” reality series. “We have seen that in the past week with people getting spring fever.”
He said the pace of rentals has been about the same as last year’s.
“But this is a completely different story in two weeks, as long as we don’t have another blizzard,” he said. “I think you’ll see things get very active.”
Ann Delaney, a real estate agent in Avalon, says bookings in her area are up about 10 percent over this point last year. She has noticed a trend over the last six years, since the Great Recession hit, of people being less willing to commit to rentals far in advance.
“People aren’t as willing to put down $4,000 in October for a rental they’re not using till the following July,” she said. “But now when it gets to be April and May, we don’t get nervous because we know it will happen.”
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC