Ocean City —
Nationally it might be doom and gloom for the economy, but Ocean City is holding pretty steady, according to a report on the city’s economic climate.
The city administration released a report on its economic profile for 2008, which provides a variety of economic and demographic data.
Overall the economic profile shows stable trends despite the national economy and higher fuel prices.
Ocean City’s population decreased from 15,378 in 2000 to 15,330 in 2005. Projections show the city’s population increasing in 2010 to 16,278.
The report lists Ocean City’s unemployment rate for 2006 at 4.80 percent compared to 7 percent for Cape May County. The average property tax in Ocean City for 2006 was $4,267 compared with the average rate countywide of $4,227. The average market value of property in Ocean City in 2006 was $745,014, compared to $439,856 in the county.
According to city Business Administrator James Rutala, the Board of Realtors released information that shows home sales were slightly more than last year and the average home values in Ocean City are more than a year ago.
“I don’t think there are many communities that could say that,” Rutala said. “Despite a tight economy, we met most of our revenue numbers, which is certainly good.”
According to the report, there were 582 property listings in 2008 compared to 569 in 2007. Sales prices increased from $300,000 to $642,000, according to the report.
For a single family home the average sales price in 2007 was $895,800 compared to the average sales price in 2008 of $925,478. The total value of single-family homes in 2007 was $104,808,620 compared to $127,715,973 for 2008.
Condominiums showed a slight reduction in average sales prices between 2007 and 2008, from $564,588 last year to $564,207 this year. The average sales price for multi-family homes also suffered: $1,155,000 in 2007 compared to $472,214 in 2008. Commercial properties in 2007 had an average sales price of $216,809 compared to $161,666 in 2008.
Revenues for city services exceeded 2008 budget estimates. According to the report, beach tag sales exceeded $3.2 million, while parking lot revenues remained steady at $1.2 million.
Ridership for Ocean City’s trolleys increased from 15,040 for 2007 with two trolleys to 40,058 in 2008 with four trolleys.
Rutala said Ocean City is “unique,” even during economic downtimes.
Rutala said the city too measures to reduce costs, including eliminating unfilled city positions and restructure various costs for health insurance and solid waste disposal.
“The issues aren’t as dire for Ocean City as it is for other communities where they depend on significant revenues for the state or sources that may be cut in the next few years,” Rutala said.
“We’re finding young retirees moving to Ocean City. There’s just a significant demand for Ocean City and there’s a tradition of people who have come to Ocean City and after years buy a house and retire here. I think that tradition continues,” Rutala said.
The report can be viewed on the city’s website at www.ocnj.us/business.