Sales of vacation homes surged 30 percent nationally last year, but data from South Jersey shore towns paint a mixed pictures of sales and prices.

A National Association of Realtors survey released Wednesday indicates the vacation home market soared in 2013 as stock market gains benefited high net-worth households, giving them the money and confidence to buy second homes.

U.S. vacation home sales reached an estimated 717,000 last year, with median prices up nearly 13 percent, or $18,700 more.

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“I think what you’re seeing is this widening disparity between more affluent households and those who are not,” said Peter Reinhart, director of the Kislak Real Estate Institute at Monmouth University. “You see it all the luxury brands, such as Tiffany’s. I think it’s another example of that.”

Regional sales and price data shows significant differences among shore towns in 2013.

In coastal municipalities from Cape May to Long Beach Island, the second-home market makes up the majority of home ownership everywhere but in Atlantic City.

In Longport, for instance, total sales fell 12 percent last year, although median sales prices skyrocketed (up 20 percent for single-family homes and 43 percent for condos), according to data from the New Jersey Association of Realtors.

In Margate, the median single-family home price dropped 13 percent last year to $500,000 as sales fell 7 percent.

Margate-based Realtor Paula Hartman reported a boom in sales the first quarter this year—nearly 100 sales in a region that includes coastal towns and mainland Atlantic County

Hurricane Sandy remains on buyers’ minds.

“Everyone knows there was a storm here. They want to check the elevation, they want to make sure,” said Hartman, broker/associate of the Hartman Home Team at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services.

“Before they had to be beach block, now a block away is very strong, probably because of the storm and the taxes and flood insurance. A block away, two blocks away is very desirable,” she said.

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