Almost a decade after Sandy, full-time residents flock to the Jersey Shore

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ – Nearly a decade after Superstorm Sandy devastated the Jersey coastline, economic development is booming as the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a wave of people moving full-time to coastal communities.

One recent afternoon, Seaside Heights, one of several towns on the New Jersey coastline, was busy building construction as new condos and single-family homes were built. New restaurants are opening along the promenade before the busy summer season. A new luxury pool and cabana club is being built. A number of lots are under development or planning on the boulevard, one of the main thoroughfares, that will include condominiums and single storey retail stores, said Mayor Anthony Vaz.

Ocean County, NJ, where Seaside Heights is located, is one of many counties in the United States that benefited from a surge in migration during the Covid-19 pandemic when people moved from crowded urban locations to less populated areas, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of U.S. Postal Service permanent change of address data through 2020. Ocean County saw a net increase of 7,000 households in 2020, mainly from people moving from New York City and northern New Jersey, up from 40% the previous year according to data.

The Jersey Shore is known as a vacation destination that swells in the summer with tourists and people visiting their second homes. But now more people are taking advantage of remote working opportunities and making the area their full-time residence, said Gary Quinn, director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners.

An expanded version of this article appears on WSJ.com.

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