Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Are Residence Clubs OK in Soft Market?

"Residence clubs are a sensible way to own in any market, but especially now that developers have adjusted purchase prices to reflect today’s economy," says Steve Dering of DCP International. He was commenting on a report at the annual confab run by industry tracker Ragatz Associates that the shared ownership (read: timeshares, fractionals, residence clubs) market still has legs. "The value of residence club vacations exceeds annual ownership costs, so owners have real estate equity and save money relative to what they would spend on luxury vacations," added Dering. DCP, creator of the first equity residence club in Deer Valley, Utah, markets and develops shared ownership clubs throughout U.S. ski resorts and in other top vacation areas.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

A & K Rejoins Luxe Vacation Home Biz

News of consolidation in the luxury shared vacation home field -- two leading outfits, Crescendo and BelleHavens, have been acquired by Abercrombie & Kent, which will thus become a big player in the destination club market. Sound familiar? A & K, a subsidiary of Fortress Investment Group, lent its name to an earlier club that later morphed into the infamous Tanner and Haley. That club went bust into bankruptcy in August 2006, leaving some very angry rich folks in the lurch. The difference now: the new club's portfolio of homes will be owned debt-free, which was the selling point of BelleHavens. And that's a good thing in the current mortgage-wary business climate.

Top dog in the destination club kennel remains Exclusive Resorts. Last September number two and three Ultimate Resort and Private Escapes announced they would merge.

An Abercrombie and Kent spokesman said it will roll out new membership options this summer. Most such clubs offer several tiers, with the most days and best choices going to those who pay heftiest annual membership fees. Presumably members will be able to take advantage of A & K's many ultra-luxury trips, such as African safaris. (Note: this post was amended 4/30 to clarify some points at the request of an A & K spokesman.)

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Location: Aspen or El Jebel?

What's in a name? Plenty, if the name is Aspen, associated with the glitziest of the Colorado mountain towns. A townhome development underway more than 20 miles down the Roaring Fork River valley from Aspen, in a community whose post office name is El Jebel, is calling itself ShadowrockAspen. The developer wants everyone to know that 80 percent, or 24, of its first phase of 30 townhomes is sold out. The subdivision's online literature talks about an "opportunity to own a part of Aspen." Prices start at $875,400, according to advertising materials. For those familiar with the valley, the homes are opposite the huge City Market in El Jebel.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Morocco: Next 2nd Home Hotspot Abroad?

Hunting for a getaway where mint tea, not a martini, is the drink of choice? jet over to Morocco -- and make it snappy, says both a British real estate website and the Associated Press. The North African kingdom "has become a 'real estate hotspot'" thanks to its good scenery and warm weather. Morocco's vibrancy and diversity" are among the positive features that have made it very popular with 'fashionable and sophisticated' leisure travelers," says the AP. What's hottest? "Marrakech has seen prices quadruple in the last 10 years and prices are continuing to rise about 20% a year," according to the AP. While there are apartments available for as little as$200,000, HomeMove.co.uk cautions that foreign buyers will pay fees that can add up to 13.5% of the purchase price." [Photo copyright Moroccoproperty.org.uk]

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Median Vacation Home Price Under $200K

Thanks to "lifestyle factors and strong demographics" the "underlying demand" for the vacation homes is strong despite last year's market slide, says National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun, who notes that “a peak of population is moving through the prime years for buying recreational property." Buyers may pay less now than before the housing bubble burst. The median price of a vacation home was $195,000 in 2007, down 2.5 % from $200,000 in 2006. Another trend: more condos, fewer single homes.

In 2007, 59 % of vacation homes sold were detached single-family homes, 29 % condos, 7 % townhouses or rowhouses, and 5 % other. In 2006, single family homes accounted for 67 % of vacation home sales, while condos were 21 %. (Photo of Club at Crystal Lake, Ft. Myers, FL courtesy Goin2travel.com)

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Vail Real Estate: No Slowdown

Upbeat news from the Four Seasons, now under construction in Vail, apparently not much hurt by national real estate troubles. Fractionals (1/12th shares) are still selling at a brisk clip, says Jeff Meier, senior director of sales and marketing, who adds, “About 18% of our buyers have come from outside the United States.” The project between Vail Village and LionsHead is an amalgam of 120 hotel rooms, 16 whole-ownership units and 19 fractionals. First release fractional prices: $379,000 to $689,000. Completion is set for 2009.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

No Joke! Hot Vacation Home Expo Panels

The first-ever vacation home expo starts in less than two weeks, and these panels scheduled for the Atlanta event sound like must-attends:

“What’s New in the Popular Self Drive Vacation Destinations,” moderated by Keith Sisson, associate publisher for Y’All Magazine. Speakers, ll execs from CVBs in Orlando, Panama City Beach, Hilton Head and Gulf Shores.

“Beyond the USA: Discovering Great International Apartments, Villas, Cottages and Vacation Homes,” moderated by John Newton, news editor for Travel + Leisure. Panelists: Simon Lehmann, CEO for Interhome, Mike Thiel, founder of Hideaways International and Dan Conaway, president of Elegant Adventures.

Dates: Fri/Sat/Sun April 11, 12, 13. Click here for more info.

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