In these days of excess, it’s befuddling that Albertans are
purchasing a quarter of a home rather than the full deal.
But the logic becomes clearer when it’s revealed the property in question is located on a boutique resort on British Columbia’s southernmost Gulf Island.
Cottage prices of $480,000 to $640,000 and strata fees of up to $1,600 per month (including utilities and taxes) add further clarification.
Yet the headache of finding three friends with an interest in vacationing in the same part of the world is remote. And the conjecture that they will keep the place in prime condition is a further leap into the hypothetical.
The development team of the Poets Cove resort on South Pender Island (including Alberta businessmen Michael Kanovsky and Don Seaman) has worked out some solutions to the summer cottage arrangements and is endeavoring to yank executive vacationers in this province into the quarter-ownership frenzy.
|An artist’s rendering of the Poets Cove development on B.C.’s Gulf Island.|
Edmontonians and Calgarians are virtually lining up to claim their quarters of the project’s soon-to-be-constructed cottages and villas, having bought close to 90 per cent of the pre-sold units to date.
Acquaintances of the owners, along with Albertans’ appreciation of ocean views, have started the sales on this side of the Rockies, says project realtor Roger McKinnon.
Following in the footsteps of timeshares (where blocks of time or points are purchased, usually for one or two weeks per year), quarter owners buy fee-simple title and gain full rights of property ownership – with the option to sell or pass on in a will.
Another key difference is that banks will mortgage quarter ownership just like a traditional mortgage.
It is less geographically flexible than timeshares.
Exchange facilitation with a small number of other quarter-
ownership developments is in the process of being set up.
Quarter owners have access to their vacation home for one week per month (or variations of that as decided among the four owners). Those 12 weeks can be used personally or dumped into the rent pool if given four months advance notice.
|One of the cottages being sold in quarter shares.|
Revenue from the day-to-day rentals, which usually run at four- to five-star rates of $300 to $500 per night, are split between the management and the owners.
McKinnon owns a quarter of a one-bedroom condo in Whistler’s Legends Building. He rented out his three weeks in January, February and March, grossing $4,700 of which he netted $2,800, which paid 11.5 months of his strata fees.
“The management will run it, so they don’t have to look after mowing the lawns, cleaning the place,” says McKinnon. “It is looked after just like . . . a nice hotel room.”
With a twist. One of four lockers contain an individual’s family photos, favourite scotch or whatever personal paraphernalia they choose to have handy on arrival.
And there’s talk of Poets Cove keeping golf clubs, kayaks and even boats on hand for use by owners, though details of what will be complimentary and what will cost have yet to be worked out.
Construction of the resort begins this week, with initial work entailing the demolition of an older resort
occupying the space.
Quarter ownership was originally made popular about 10 years ago on the U.S. east coast and worked its way to Colorado, where 30 per cent of North America’s fractional ownership is found.
Intrawest, a major developer and operator of village-centred resorts across North America, pioneered Western Canada’s acceptance of the quarter-ownership idea over the last few years. The emphasis has been in Whistler where, reportedly, more than $85 million of real estate has sold in quarter-ownership form in the last two years or so.
The ownership strategy has since spread to resorts such as Crown Isle on Vancouver Island and Predator Ridge near Vernon. It is clearly a winner with developers, with resorts selling out in a blitz.
“Let’s see. Phase 1, the first 40 quarters, we sold out in 10 days,” says McKinnon of the Poets Cove development.
Eight of the resort’s 22 hotel suites were spoken for before they hit the market earlier this week.
Alongside the private purchases, corporations are beginning to see quarter ownership as another tool in their treat bags.
Industry stats indicate an annual growth of 150 per cent in the quarter-ownership market, but McKinnon cautions that the concept is not a good fit for all locales.
“They have to be specialty resorts of some kind or it won’t work,” says McKinnon, citing ski hills and water fronts as ideal. He adds the key is locating the resort in a place the public really, really wants to be.
For those with a penchant for perpetual holidaying, McKinnon recommends simply buying a complete unit – with a quarter of it in South Pender, another quarter in Hawaii . . .
It’s a home on wheels – without the wheels.