Home > Business & Strategy > The Concept of Fractional Ownership

The Concept of Fractional Ownership

In business, fractional ownership is a percentage share of an expensive asset.

In terms of Property Ownership:
Fractional ownership simply means the division of any asset into portions or shares. If the “asset” is a property, the title or deed can be legally divided into shares. In certain instances this is done by creating a “mezzanine structure”, i.e creating a company which owns the property then allowing multiple owners or investors to own shares in the company. Those shares can then be purchased and owned by more than one individual. The reasons for a “mezzanine structure” can vary. Two common reasons are to allow transfer of shares without the need to reflect changes on the title or deed to the property, and for tax benefits.

Shared ownership of the property and its deed will also entitle shareholders to certain usage rights, usually in the form of weeks. Conceptually, Fractional Ownership is not the same as Timeshare. Fractional Ownership affords much of the freedom and usage benefits offered in timeshare, however, the fundamental difference with fractional ownership is that the purchaser owns part of the title (as opposed to units of “time”). Therefore, if the property appreciates in value, then so do the shares. As with whole ownership, fractional owners can sell whenever they deem necessary or prudent, releasing the capital growth from their “bricks & mortar” investment.
The popularity of the term fractional ownership has caused extensive rebranding in other industries where similar concepts, such as real estate timeshares, were already well established.

Fractional ownership divides a property into more affordable segments for individuals and also matches an individuals ownership time to their actual usage time. A fractional share gives the owners certain privileges, such as a number of days or weeks when they can use the property. Occasionally, the property is sold after a pre-determined time, distributing the relative proceeds back to the owners. A few private owner-groups have developed highly sophisticated usage allocation schemes and other features based on the principle of attempting to get as close as possible to the flexibility of individual ownership, and only compromising this to the minimum extent necessary to accommodate multiple owners. In such schemes the basic agreement is between the members themselves, whereas in most commercial fractional ownership schemes, the owner’s principal relationship is with the property developer and/or promoter of the scheme

A key aspect for any fractional owner is to understand their usage rights and the reservation plans. These vary from property to property. Some offer fixed occupancy periods in which an owner uses the same time each year. Some offer “floating” periods, in which the occupancy times rotate throughout the year, and some offer a mixture of these, with some time fixed and some floating.

Another variation in the business model is what are called “destination resorts”. These are typically properties, whether hotel rooms, suites, or freestanding villas, located on property owned and managed by a hotel developer, and which provide amenities typically expected of a high class hotel or resort. Some hotels are also developed as a condo-hotel, in which individual rooms are sold off to individual owners.

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Categories: Business & Strategy
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