In the kitchy community of St. Michaels, on the Maryland shore, businesses are gearing up for the official start of the season, Memorial Day weekend. Trucks carrying dozens of bicycles are unloading into waterside racks and shopkeepers are moving their bright-colored wares out onto the sidewalks. For real estate rental agents, however, the hard work is largely done. The biggest houses are already booked.
"Those houses do tend to book up in January," said Deborah Lipscomb, owner of Eastern Shore Vacation Rentals. "Because of the jersey shore and the things going on there, we are seeing more of a demand for this area."
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The recession hit home buying in this area, which actually increased competition in the rental market, but that may be about to change. Low mortgage rates, returning consumer and investor confidence, and the new migration from New Jersey are all combining to turn this Maryland market around.
"We're getting the calls again from people looking to really buy, buy into the market and start renting again," said Lipscomb.
The impact of Super Storm Sandy is less apparent further south on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.
"It's a great time to buy, it's a bad time to sell is what I tell people," said James Wedgeworth, who has been selling real estate on the island for over a decade. "There is a light at the end of the tunnel."