Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No Debt: BelleHavens' Smart Club Pitch

The destination club BelleHavens, which is in the same deluxe class as Exclusive Resorts and Quintess, has a unique selling point that should appeal to mortgage-wary travelers: the homes in its portfolio are owned by members rather than the club's overseers, and are debt-free. BelleHavens thus calls itself the first "equity membership" club with asset protection as a key factor. That doesn't mean that visits to properties such as those at La Quinta, CA (shown); Palm Coast, FL; Kohala Coast, Hawaii; Hilton Head, SC; Los Cabos, Mexico; and midtown Manhattan come cheaply. The current price of a BelleHavens Equity Membership is a one-time deposit of $225,000 and annual dues of $18,500. Still, that means a reasonable average price of about $615 per night based on 30 nights annual usage. And peace of mind? Priceless.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Vacation Home Sales Drop Hits Vermont Economy

Vermont's statewide economy has been hurt by the drop in housing sales. According to Jeff Carr, president of Economic & Policy Resources Inc. in Williston, vacation homes in particular is the leading edge of the downturn. Burlington Free Press quotes him saying the gross state product, the total value of Vermont's goods and services for 2007, will show an inflation-adjusted decline of 0.3 percent from last year. Housing construction tumbled 53 percent through August.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Senior Tsunami Reaches Southern NH

New Hampshire is now officially part of the "senior tsunami," says the Hartford Courant. The term, coined by rock star demographer Bill Frey, is shorthand for growth of pre-senior -- read, boomer -- populations "in economically dynamic Sun Belt" plus scenic and culturally attractive coastal and rural areas. Writer Rinker Buck says in New Hampshire it means increase in liberal Democrats -- but whatever their party they've got to live somewhere, such as in cities like Portsmouth. Real estate agent Joe Leddy tells me this modern 2-story waterfront Cape in nearby Dover -- under $400,000-- is typical of Boomer appeal in Southern NH.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Luxe Fractionals Thrive Despite Slowdown

Despite sagging sales of vacation homes in many resort areas, "equity residence club" shares continue to thrive, says Steve Dering, a founding partner of DCP International. His company markets such high-end fractionals as the Chateaux at Deer Valley in Utah and the Reefs Club in Bermuda. "People are drawn to this because it is a lifestyle choice and not an investment decision." Dering says Reefs Club sales and those of a new property on the Jersey Shore at Cape May are outstripping the whole ownership market.

DCPI's premise? Deeded fractional ownership of a luxury home with buyers guaranteed they will get the amount of time they want. "If people use it, they are getting their value out of it," he says. There are "lower carrying costs" on a fractional, so there is less pressure to sell when the market suffers a downturn.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Aspen Favorite of Destination Clubs

No surprise as more and more "destination clubs" are putting down roots in Aspen. A recent Aspen Daily News article indicated the following clubs have properties there
  • LUSSO Collection -- townhome at Aspen Highlands.
  • Exclusive Resorts, -- townhome at Two Creeks and a large block of time at the Timbers Club.
  • Portofino Club -- condo at the Snowmass Club
  • Quintess (includes The Leading Residences of the World)-- three properties in Aspen
  • Solstice Club -- two houses in Aspen's best year-round neighborhood, the West End
  • High Country Club -- condo in Snowmass
  • Oyster Circle Club -- said to have plans to buy in Aspen or Snowmass.

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