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Sluggish Long Beach summer rentals command high prices

The pool area of the The Meridian condominium

The pool area of the The Meridian condominium complex on West Broadway in Long Beach. A condo in this complex is renting for $32,500 for Memorial Day to Labor Day 2013. Credit: Douglas Elliman

With only days until the traditional Memorial Day to Labor Day summer rental season begins, at least two Long Beach real estate offices are facing a steep drop in summer rentals.

Joyce Coletti of Douglas Elliman Real Estate says she only has 14 inked leases for Long Beach properties so far – five houses and nine apartments. Last summer, she had roughly 80 summer rentals for the entire season.

She attributes the nosedive to the absence of the boardwalk, which was lost in superstorm Sandy.

“Most people come to ride, run, walk or exercise on the boardwalk. It’s peaceful to listen to the waves hit the shore or to people watch,” Coletti said.

Still, rental prices haven’t taken as much of a hit. A summer dweller recently wrote a $50,000 check to cover a three-month lease for one of Coletti’s listings, a four-bedroom oceanfront townhome. Her record-high summer rental was $65,000 at the height of the real estate market, and it was for an oceanfront house on Indiana Avenue rented to a New York City plastic surgeon.

She also rented a condo in the Meridian complex (shown) for $32,500. Her lowest rental this year is $10,000 for a one-bedroom oceanfront condo during July and August.

Renee Weinberg of Petry Real Estate in Long Beach reports the same flat state of affairs in the summer rental market. She says she has had no summer rentals this year. “With no boardwalk -- and we don’t know about access to the beach, though [the city] says it’ll be open -- people are uncertain," she said. "They are not going to spend $20,000 to $50,000 [for something they’re not sure of].”

The year-round rental market seems to be a different story entirely. Weinberg said she can’t keep up with the demand and that actual home sales are active, too. “The city will come back," Weinberg added.

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