Time sharing enjoys a boom in U.S.

February 09, 1992|By John Handley | John Handley,Chicago Tribune

Vacationers who can't afford the luxury of buying a second home at the beach or mountains may be able to scrape up enough cash for a one-week share of one.

That's the theory behind time sharing.

Originated in Europe in the 1960s, the time-sharing concept was imported to the United States in the 1970s. Because of a #F recession at that time, there was a glut of condominiums. To reduce the inventory of condos, some developers decided it might be easier to sell their units by the week.

From only eight time-share resorts in the United States in 1973, the number has boomed to more than 1,200. Most are in popular vacation areas such as Florida, California, Colorado and Hawaii.

Worldwide sales of time-share units topped $3 billion in 1990, a 500 percent increase over 1980, reports the American Resort and Residential Development Association. Americans own nearly 50 percent of the 60,380 time-share units in the world.

The average one-week time share in the United State costs about $10,000, but prices vary according to the size of the unit.

A time share may be for a specific week (or weeks) or some resorts offer floating time periods. Owners are charged an annual maintenance fee.

There are two types of time-share sales. "Fee simple" is the actual purchase of real estate. Buyers receive a title and can sell, lease or will the time period.

The other type is "right-to-use," which is actually a long lease. The developer retains the title, and the buyer is entitled to use the time for a fixed number of years.

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