Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Boomers Search for "Middle-Class Luxury"

Realtors from around the U.S. and elsewhere who specialize in second homes and resort real estate converge are meeting this week in Vail, CO this week and at least one speaker reports that condo hotels, fractionals, and timeshares are still doing well in the strongest markets. Bob Waun, CEO of Vacation Finance, told the group that the baby boomers are still fueling these purchases. They "are seeking unique alternatives that make fiscal sense and create ownership opportunities that are not burdensome. Many Americans do not want just one second home, they want one in multiple locations," Waun told the National Association of Realtors Vail symposium. "Luxury is a new middle-class expectation," he declared, and "making it affordable requires thinking outside the box of traditional ownership."

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Winter Olympics Lodging? Try Cruise Timeshares

Don't want a timeshare on land? How about one on sea? How about tossing the 2010 Winter Olympics into the mix? CruiseShip'Shares may be coming to a port near you. The ship Pacific Aurora, under a Canadian Flag, is scheduled to begin sailing in the Vancouver, BC area within the next few months. The ship's initial winter itinerary will offer a Sea-to-Ski program featuring Whistler Mountain, the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics. A spokesman said "to the best of our knowledge this is a unique vacation ownership opportunity and will be among the first for a commercial style cruise ship." First purchasers will have the opportunity to secure occupancy rights during the Olympiad. Vacation ownership unit sales are expected to start as early as mid July but the idea must first be approved by state regulators in Florida.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Why Are Vacation Home Prices Down?

Some time back I reported that statistics show sales of vacation homes for personal use were robust last year. But nationally prices did dip. The median price of a vacation home in 2006 was $200,000, down 2 percent from $204,100 in 2005.

"For vacation home prices to edge down in a record market is a bit puzzling,” David Lereah, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said.

My thunderclap of insight: perhaps the prices went down because there were so many vacation homes for sale, it became a buyers' market, and smart buyers negotiated lower prices. Also, perhaps the vacation home buying spree was weakest in expensive Northeast markets, which accounted for 25 % of sales, while remaining strong in South and West.

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