Surfing tournament buoys L.I. rental market

TRD New York /
Jun.June 29, 2011 07:33 PM
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Wendy Sanders (top), Maria Aramanda (bottom), and two Long Beach homes with rental listings for Quiksilver Pro New York

A first-of-its-kind surfing tournament planned for Long Beach, L.I., is giving an early-summer surge to its rental housing market.

The tournament, Quiksilver Pro New York, will take place from Sept. 1 to Sept. 15 and 25,000 people are expected to attend. But Long Beach is a barrier island where the only lodging is the 143-room Allegria Hotel (where the surfers stay), so event organizers are trying to find housing for staff and other participants.

As a result, homeowners are deciding to put their homes on the market well past Labor Day after the rental season historically has ended, brokers said. And others who might not have ever considered letting strangers shack up in their bedrooms are listing their properties for either for either a two- or four-week period, hoping to cash in on the action, they added.

“It’s been great,” said Maria Aramanda, a broker with Long Beach-based Gull Realty, who noted that inquiries are up 40 percent from last year. Since the tournament was announced in May, 52 homeowners on Long Beach Island, which includes the communities of Atlantic Beach, Lido Beach and Point Lookout, have put their homes up for rent through Gull, Aramanda said. And so far, 14 have rented, she said.

And the demand is clearly boosting prices, said Anthony Chiaravalloti, owner of Coldwell Banker Beach West Realty. His listings targeting the Quiksilver crowd range from $3,000 for a two-bedroom converted bungalow, to $8,000 for a four-bedroom contemporary home, though he’s also seen $15,000 for an oceanfront home.

That’s about double the rate of a typical two-week period in the summer, and it comes in September, after school has started, he said, though short-term rentals are rare. More often, homes are rented in two-month or seasonal increments, brokers said.

But Chiaravalloti is concerned that many homeowners won’t ultimately be able to lease their properties because Quiksilver is taking too long to find renters for homes.

Brokers said the hottest real estate in town are those properties located close to where National Boulevard meets the beach, where much of the competition, as well as concerts and skateboarding events, will take place.

But that hasn’t stopped others from trying to join the gold rush. A three-bedroom ranch is currently being marketed on Gull’s website for $15,000 for the two-week period even though it’s located “6.2 miles to competition,” in the private community of Lido Dunes.

Officially, the rental division of Prudential Douglas Elliman on Long Island is coordinating housing rentals for Quiksilver, which means the firm is supposed to match up their executives with homes offered for rent through local brokerages. Elliman and the brokerages would split the commission, brokers said.

As of the last week of June, up to 200 homes had been listed on the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island for a two- to four-week period because of the tournament, said Elliman broker Wendy Sanders, from condos to standalone homes with prices ranging from $5,000, for a one-bedroom condo for two weeks to $40,000, for a four-bedroom house.

Most of those homes will be taken by employees of Quiksilver, Sanders said, declining to elaborate, and telling a reporter to refer most other questions to an emailed statement for The Real Deal.

“Coordinating the housing for this event is an exciting challenge, and we look forward to working with both the Quiksilver group and the City of Long Beach to do our part to help ensure the success of the event,” she wrote.

Specifically, brokers said 500 Quiksilver employees need housing. But Catlin Rawling, the California company’s publicity director, did not return calls for comment.

Long Beach will be the sixth and final stop on the world tour for this event, which will be co-sponsored by the Association of Surfing Professionals. Past and current locations have included Australia, Portugal and France. This would be the first time the tournament has stopped on the East Coast.

Other homes are for those who work for other sponsors of the event, as well as band members who are performing, and maybe spectators who plan on coming in from New York City, brokers said.

That might explain why the homes are being advertised far and wide on the MLS. The tournament offers a $1 million purse, and the winner will take home $30,000.

In a still-sluggish real estate economy, the event has provided a shot in the arm, at least in a small dose, said Barbara Mullaney, a sales associate with Century 21 American Homes, who is currently marketing a five-bedroom contemporary house that’s usually only rented out for TV shows, for $20,000 for the two-week period.

“I think in this economy every little bit helps,” she said.

But some brokers are cautioning their gung-ho clients to be careful about handing their keys to just anybody, like Leah Rosenberg, a broker with Wiessman Realty Group, based in Lawrence, N.Y., who said she’s getting multiple calls daily from interested homeowners.

To wit: small houses could become packed with people very quickly, as the event is expected to draw tourists from all over the world.

“I’m telling a lot of my clients that you’re only going to get a 10 percent security deposit, and suddenly you may have 20 Australians coming to the door,” she said. “If they wreck your house, and you just have $1,200 in security, is it worth it?” In fact, Rosenberg, who owns two Long Beach homes, is opting not to rent hers out.


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