By Pat Loeb

OCEAN CITY, NJ (CBS) – There’s still time to book a week at the South Jersey Shore and real estate agents say there are a lot of good reasons to do so.

Any annual shore-goer can tell you: by this time, any other year, there’d be very little left to rent but this year, rental agents are still working.

Arno Apel of Ashore Realty says Cape May and Atlantic Counties expected to be busier than ever because of damage further north. Instead, he says, they got lumped in with the storm-effected resorts and subject to Sandy-skittishness.

“It’s been a little sluggish, not quite as busy as everyone expected,” Apel says.

Eileen Herring decided on a shore vacation at the last minute, but she didn’t want to book online.

“I wanted to be sure for myself that the beach is the beach and the boardwalk is the boardwalk and the streets are clean and everything’s in perfect shape.”

Her rental agent Clay Rossiter of Fox Realtors says Herring isn’t the only one carrying those images of a flooded, sand-clogged Ocean City around in her head.

“We’re down about 4-5 percent. It keeps hovering back and forth; it got down as low as 8 percent off.”

But Rossiter and Herring agree this part of the shore is back to normal. In fact, Rossiter says it’s better.

“The beaches, now that the Army Corps of Engineers is doing their job, I mean — they look better than they did ever. I’ve never seen more sand on Brighton Place and I’ve lived here all my life.”

The Corps is still on the beach — there are bulldozers and cranes at work — but Rossiter is upbeat.

“This year, this summer, is going to be absolutely fantastic.”

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