Here’s Your Next Jersey Shore House

Our guide to last-minute summer rentals.

Very soon the Atlantic City Expressway and Garden State Parkway will be jammed with Philadelphians fleeing to the Atlantic. And although most SPF-toting, beach-bound people tend to start booking their Jersey Shore rentals over the winter, there’s still time to get yourself a nice little Shore house for a week or the whole summer. This year, procrastinators might make out better than the advance planners.

“Rentals are simply crazy this year,” insists Paula Hartman, a spirited redhead who has been matching up beach-block bungalows and oceanfront mansions with Jersey Shore house renters for the last 15 years. “Just last week, we got 70 rental calls in three days. Can you believe that?”

Hartman focuses on Absecon Island (Margate, Longport, Ventnor and Atlantic City), but her team’s territory stretches from Brigantine in the north down to Avalon in the south. She says that while demand this year is huge, it seems to her that there are more properties available than ever before. “There are so many houses on the market that just aren’t selling right now,” says Hartman. “And so the owners have decided to rent them out, many for the first time.”

Margate Shore House Rentals

The selections in Margate and Ventnor are also particularly strong this time around, explains Hartman, because those areas have recently relaxed laws that previously made it difficult for homeowners to rent out their properties by the week. “Before, you had to get the city out there after every single tenant to issue a new certificate of occupancy, which was just horrible,” she says. “But now you can buy one rental license and rent out a house as many times as you want over the summer.”

Adding to this renter’s market are lower prices. A bay-front home in Ventnor with a boat slip and a Jet Ski thrown in used to fetch about $50,000 for the summer. But in 2012, those same homeowners are asking $35,000. There are studios right on the Atlantic City Boardwalk for $4,000 for the entire season. Of course, then you’re living on the Atlantic City Boardwalk for the summer. Don’t want to commit to four months at the Shore? That’s OK. You can pick up a two-bedroom in Ventnor for as little as $1,200 for the week. That same place in Margate starts at around $2,500.

On the higher end of the spectrum, a beachfront property will set you back $10,000 weekly, or $8,000 if you’re a savvy negotiator. “I just had some people who wanted into an oceanfront place that was $10,000 for the week,” says Hartman. “They offered $8,000. There’s definitely room to negotiate this year, and the closer we get to Memorial Day, the lower the prices can drop.” Hartman just placed one Philadelphia-area family in a $105,000/season Margate house with separate guest quarters and kids’ playhouse. “It’s like the Kennedy compound,” she remarks. “Oh, and that’s $105,000 plus utilities.”

LBI Shore House Rentals

The market is behaving similarly up in Long Beach Island, says longtime LBI realtor Joe Mancini of Mancini Realty. He says that you can still find three-bedroom duplexes blocks off of the beach for under $2,000 per week, while the better oceanfront properties are averaging around $10,000.

Cape May Shore House Rentals

Meanwhile, down in Cape May, things are a bit tighter. “Cape May is very unique to the Jersey Shore, because we’re not just getting tenants from a 90-mile radius,” offers local realtor Todd deSatnick. “Our national historic landmark status has really exposed us, and so we’re getting people from all over the country. So we have a lot more renters.” Still, there are bargains available, especially if you can be flexible with your dates. “You can even get two bedrooms maybe one mile away from the beach for well under $1,000,” says deSatnick. “But I wouldn’t wait too long.”


$40,000/season beach-block house in Ventnor

$10,000/August Longport three-bedroom

$4,000/week Margate three-bedroom

$500/week two-bedroom Cape May cottage

$6,700/week oceanfront Cape May house, sleeps 22

$4,000/season Atlantic City Boardwalk studio with pool

$4,000/week three-bedroom house with pool in Loveladies