2013 Economic Forecast: Brady Sees Great Year for Ocean City Tourism
Ocean City Home Bank President Steve Brady delivers his annual economic forecast to the Ocean City Chamber.
In his 21st annual economic forecast for the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, Ocean City Home Bank President Steve Brady said he sees a great opportunity for the local tourist economy to thrive even as the national economy lumbers along.
Brady addressed a couple hundred business owners and professionals at a luncheon at the Flanders Hotel on Thursday afternoon (Jan. 17).
With much of the rest of the Jersey Shore devastated by Superstorm Sandy, Brady predicted "another bounty year in Ocean City for tourism."
Echoing comments from Chamber Executive Director Michele Gillian, Brady said, "We need to get the word out that we are up and running."
Gillian had opened the meeting with a plea for all Chamber members to mention to anybody and everybody that Ocean City is "open for business." She noted that the Ocean City Tourist Development Commission had just approved a major advertising buy in North Jersey, where the Oct. 29 storm left substantially more damage to shore resort towns.
Brady was interrupted by applause when he mentioned what a great job the local government did in cleaning up and helping Ocean City recover from the storm. The southern New Jersey shore towns are expected to be at full capacity to accept summer visitors.
Reviewing the year 2012, Brady said he saw signs of recovery in the real estate market with only 734 unsold units on the market at the end of the year, down from 963 at the close of 2011. At the same time, the average sales price went up from $564,000 in 2011 to $576,000 in 2012, he said. Building permits issued climbed from 115 to 150.
Among positive developments in 2012, Brady pointed out:
- The opening of the Revel casino in Atlantic City.
- The completion of the Route 52 causeway between Somers Point and Ocean City.
- The Ocean City BYOB initiative being settled with the public rejecting it at the polls.
- The opening of the gallery of boutiques at Stainton's on Asbury Avenue in Ocean City.
- A strong summer season for the Ocean City tourist economy.
- Ocean City's ability to bring 8,000 people to town for its First Night celebration on New Year's Eve, just two months after Superstorm Sandy struck.
For 2013, Brady expects to see the region benefit from the development of the Harrah's Conference Center, Margaritaville casino (Resorts) and a Bass Pro Shops outlet (The Walk) in Atlantic City. He said reconstruction in the aftermath of Sandy will bring new jobs to the state.
On a national level, Brady sees more obstacles to overcome as the economy moves toward recovery — including partisan politics, a crushing national debt and an overbearing regulatory environment.