Fractional ownership puts summer respite within reach
April 27, 2007 at 12:00 AM EDT
have known it through most of March and April, but last weekend's splash of sun
reminded us that, yes, we do indeed live in a temperate zone allowing for
humans to frolic in the bounty of nature.
temperatures finally breaking 20, thoughts turn to packing up the parka and
mittens and going swimming, hiking, boating, fishing, or just swinging back and
forth in a hammock with a good book and cold beverage.
Unfortunately, outright ownership of a
decent holiday property in Muskoka-Gravenhurst cottage country is rapidly
moving out of reach for most families, unless it's a clapboard shack on
more affordable cottage properties in the Kawarthas northeast of Peterborough,
and in the area that stretches toward the Frontenac region north of Kingston.
It's a longer drive, but in many areas it's less concentrated, with the
additional peace and quiet that comes with that.
cottage ownership comes what the economists call opportunity cost. For all that
you invest in a holiday property — not just the purchase price but the
maintenance costs — you're also forgoing the chance to invest that money
elsewhere. There's also the intangible pressure to make the most out of your
investment, so every summer you'll try to squeeze as much use out of it as
possible. This is fine if you feel some kind of mystical attachment to your
cottage, but maybe you would also love to visit Paris, Rome and London, too.
Over the past
three years, developers have been promoting a solution to the opportunity-cost
quandary: fractional ownership. They build a condominium-style holiday property and sell off ownership
fractions, usually in four- or five-week increments, guaranteeing you a certain
amount of time to enjoy the property every year.
Most of these
projects are geared to take advantage of recreational facilities nearby,
especially the ski hills and golf courses clustered near the Village of Blue
If you think
this sounds perilously close to time-sharing, you would be right. The major
difference is that
fractional ownership offers the customer partial title to the property, and the
unrestricted ability to borrow against or resell that comes with it.
fractional projects that have been built in and around Collingwood have been
undertaken by resort giants such as Intrawest Corp., which offers owners the
chance to trade in their fractions for time at the companies other far-flung
resorts, such as Whistler, B.C., or Mont Tremblant in Quebec.
types of holiday accommodations aren't exactly the rustic properties of
traditional cottage country, the upside is that you won't have to spend your
weekends and holidays rebuilding boathouses or dealing with aging septic tanks.
we'll take a look at the some of the new holiday developments that have been
launched within driving distance of Greater Toronto.