I live in the area and have represented real estate buyers and sellers throughout the Middletown, Long Branch, West Long Branch areas for several years. I spend a lot of time in the area you described and I am surprised by your question.
There is a student rental population, of course, because of the college.
The revitalization of Long Branch, particularly Pier Village, has had a substantial impact on the shore area there. Year round there is activity, but it certainly swells with day-trippers, and guests during the summer. While we do have summer rentals, this area of the shore doesn't compare to further south. There are a number of people who maintan second homes for the weekend, and they probably visit more often in the summer - and bring their friends!
I pulled some stats on West Long Branch...........
In 2008 there were
45 SF properties sold. Avg dom 103 List/Sale Price 93.72% and inventory levels were 14.66 months
In 2009 there were
45 SF properties sold Avg dom 69 List/Sale Price 93.56% inventory levels were at 15.46 months
I am not seeing a downward trend in activity - but downward trend in price, as the median price dropped from 395K to 350K
The stats do not show a strong uptick rentals, nor decrease in sales.