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Beach home sales at the Jersey Shore are surging during the coronavirus outbreak

Katie Park, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Home and Consumer News

For some employees given the option of working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, the workplace expanded from the city office to the beachfront condominium.

A picturesque scenario. If a Shore house is even available.

Sales are so strong that buyers should "make a very, very strong offer and don't hesitate. Don't wait three weeks to come down" to the Shore, said Brenda Connolly, owner of the Connolly Agency, a real estate company in the coastal town of Avon-by-the-Sea in Monmouth County, where a condominium can sell for $375,000 and houses for up to $3 million.

Interest in beach homes, often a second dwelling for wealthy city residents or landlocked suburbanites, have seen a prolific jump in New Jersey during the coronavirus pandemic, with Connolly reporting that sales were up 25% this year compared with the same period last year, an increase she partially attributed to historically low mortgage rates.

Beachfront homes in the Hamptons in New York and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina have enjoyed a similar rise in fortunes.

Normally, Connolly said, up to 30 houses are for sale in Bradley Beach, a Shore town a mile away from Avon-by-the-Sea, where properties come with price tags similar to those in Avon. Just seven were on the market last week.

 

"People were stuck working out of home in New York City or Hoboken, and they wanted to get outside," she said, mirroring the observations of other real estate agents further down the Shore. "We have very low, limited supply, and we've got incredibly high demand."

She noted that many to-be beach house owners had long planned to buy a house at the Shore and that the pandemic -- accompanied by a drop in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to about 3% -- accelerated their plans to do so.

Real estate agents in some of New Jersey's most sought-after coastal havens offered the same advice: Come to the Shore as quickly as possible with mortgage preapprovals and other necessary documents, and be prepared to bid quickly and aggressively.

"They should know if an agent tells them there's limited supply, they're not kidding," said Jerome DiPentino, an agent at Long & Foster in Longport, Atlantic County. "It could literally be gone in one weekend."

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