If one wants to ascertain the state of the green building industry, shared—or “fractionally owned”—vacation condos might be a good place to start.
While many homebuyers will settle for an uninspiring exurb lot near a convenient highway entrance for their home, vacation homes are something different. Second homes often reflect more of their owners’ aspirations and ideals. When purchasing vacation property, pristine landscaping and luxury amenities have always been selling points, but in recent years, environmentally focused “green” features have attracted the educated, affluent buyer who is the bread and butter of the second home market.
But how is the market for environmentally friendly second homes holding up in the face of the current lengthy recession? Is “green” still the must-have amenity or feature that can command a premium price?
“The green movement was gaining a lot of momentum until the fall of 2008. I think it’s still there, but it’s not the primary [buying] decision factor that it was,” says Perry Williams, developer of the Maine Resort Club, a fractional ownership development in the Sebago Lakes region of that state.
Williams expresses a growing realization among developers—that while green features are still important, they have been overtaken by price considerations by those weighing vacation condo purchases. And this isn’t just impacting properties in New England and the Eastern Seaboard—an informal survey of shared vacation condo marketing from around the Americas illustrates how this new reality is settling in.