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The Wall Street Journal: Almost a decade after Sandy, full-time residents are flocking to the Jersey Shore

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SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. — Nearly a decade after superstorm Sandy ravaged the Jersey Shore, economic development is thriving as the Covid-19 pandemic led to a wave of people moving to coastal communities full time.

On a recent afternoon, Seaside Heights, one of several towns that dot the New Jersey shoreline, was bustling with construction activity, as new condos and single-family homes go up. Along the boardwalk, new restaurants are opening up ahead of the busy summer season. A new luxury pool and cabana club is being built. On Boulevard, one of the main thoroughfares, a number of lots are under development or in the planning stages that will feature condos and ground-level retail shops, said Mayor Anthony Vaz.

Ocean County, N.J., where Seaside Heights is located, is one of many counties across the U.S. that has benefited from a surge of migration during the Covid-19 pandemic, as people relocated from crowded urban locations to less densely populated regions, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of U.S. Postal Service permanent change-of-address data through 2020. Ocean County had a net gain of 7,000 households in 2020, mainly from people relocating from New York City and northern New Jersey, a 40% increase from the prior year, according to the data.

The Jersey Shore has been known as a vacation destination that swells during the summer with tourists and people visiting their second homes. But now more people are taking advantage of remote work options and are making the region 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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