Page 0034

When managed well, shared ownership

schemes can offer owners a holiday home at a

fraction of the price of an outright purchase,

finds Liz Rowlinson

T

he responsibilities

and costs of

ownership can put

many people off

owning a holiday

property abroad.

How much will they actually use

the property, enough to justify the

upkeep expenses? Why not just

rent a gorgeous property every

summer and not worry about

cleaning the swimming pool?

Fractional ownership sits

somewhere between the two

options, and is not to be confused

with timeshare, because owners

typically buy a share of the

freehold, rather than just a period

of usage. It's often billed as

offering a 'champagne lifestyle

on a lemonade budget' because

ownership of a luxury property

can be enjoyed (part-time) for a

relatively low cost.

It's well established in

North America, but still a niche

sector in Europe. The key to

successful schemes is whether

the management company can

maintain occupancy levels and a

A slice of

the South

happy set of owners.

So how does it work? A

property is divided into shares

- 1/8ths, or 1/16ths, for example -

and these are available to purchase

for a fraction of the total value, with

each fraction equating to a period

of use and share of the equity.

If owners each get five weeks'

exclusive use, the weeks they can

have each year are organised on

a rota basis, and sometimes they

can trade weeks, or purchase extra

weeks, depending on the scheme.

Buyers must understand that

the high running costs of a multiowned

and serviced property will

be factored in somewhere - how

much extra will they need to pay

for annual ownership fees? They

also need to find out how and

when they can sell their share.

Some schemes promise a share of

any capital appreciation gained

during their term of ownership.

But let's look at one current

example, where you can still

purchase shares: €83,000 for

a 1/16th or 1/8th share at

€166,000. Mas du Figuier is a

34

SHARED OWNERSHIP LEGGETT MAGAZINE

nine-bedroom farmhouse close to

the mediaeval town of Vézénobres,

in the Languedoc, half an hour

from Nîmes, and an hour from

Montpellier. The property comes

with a heated swimming pool

within lush, private gardens.

There are currently seven

owners, including the Canadian

chef and author Michael Olsen. "At

first I wasn't interested in fractional

ownership as I thought we wanted

100% control. But we looked

around other properties, and as

much as we liked them, we could

not get over the issue of managing

the home and responsibilities

that came with it," he says. "Living

in Canada, we can't go over for a

weekend to take care of things. The

idea of security, maintenance, bills,

and other things actually started to

scare us off."

LEGGETTFRANCE.COM

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