Ask RedWeek / June, 2017

What's happening in the timeshare resale market?

I'd like to sell my timeshare, but have been reading about problems in the resale market. What does the market look like - are people actually buying? And, if so, which resorts are they buying?

These are outstanding questions that relate 100 percent to RedWeek's subscribers and our core business model — helping owners list and sell timeshares, legitimately. To answer these questions, we examined our own internal data for trends. We also consulted top-line timeshare real estate brokers and other industry professionals for their take on the secondary market and where, if anywhere, it is headed.

Year-to-Date Resale Closings Up 46 Percent

While historically a DIY marketplace, RedWeek launched a full-service resale offering in early 2013, so now have enough data to note marketplace trends. The following trends were noticed for the first five months of 2017, as compared to the same period of 2016:

  • Timeshare resale closings, overall, are up 46 percent
  • Resales of timeshare weeks rose 47 percent, while points resales increased 35 percent
  • Ninety percent of all resales involved timeshare weeks
  • RedWeek's full-service resale program has saved members $267,000 in commissions already this year. RedWeek charges $399 or 3 percent commission to handle all aspects of a full-service resale — licensed timeshare resale brokers typically charge $1,000 to $1,500 per closing.

Most Popular Resales in Big Brand Clubs and Highest-Value Locations

In timeshares, as with the regular real estate market, location is everything. According to the brokers we interviewed, buyers are willing to pay higher prices for timeshare resales from owners who are members of the most well-known clubs (brands) and have intervals at outstanding vacation spots. Disney is the runaway leader among favored clubs, followed by Marriott, Westin (Vistana), Hyatt, and a slew of other brand names. The most popular destinations are predictable: Hawaii, Aruba, California, and Mexico.

This year, however, some buyer preferences are changing. According to RedWeek's tracking system, many buyers are purchasing legacy timeshares in California's northern San Diego County (Carlsbad), likely due to its popularity among California residents who want to drive to their seaside timeshare (rather than fly to Hawaii, which can cost $1,000 roundtrip airfare per person). On the East Coast, buyers are flocking to timeshare resales on the Caribbean island of Aruba.

Here are the resorts with the most resale activity since January 2016:

  1. Grand Pacific Palisades Resort; Carlsbad, CA. Current asking prices for two-bedroom, two-bath, annual timeshares range from $1,300 to $18,000.
  2. Marriott's Aruba Surf Club; Palm Beach, Aruba. Current asking prices range from $2,500 to $65,000. This is also consistently our top resort for rental volume.
  3. Carlsbad Seapointe Resort; Carlsbad, CA. Current asking prices range from $1,200 to $8,000, among the mere 9 resales left.
  4. Marriott's Aruba Ocean Club; Palm Beach, Aruba. Current asking prices range from $1,499 to $30,000.
  5. Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort. Current asking prices for one-bedroom units range from $3,000 to $25,000; a smattering of two-bedroom units are higher.

While we can't disclose exact sales prices, you can view price ranges for each at our timeshare valuation tool: What's My Timeshare Worth. The historical data includes both full-service and DIY resales (where owners have provided data to us), but excludes floating weeks.

The next five most-active resale resorts are familiar names in the timeshare world. They include The Royal Sands in Cancun; Marriott's Maui Ocean Club; Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort and Spa in Cabo San Lucas; Westin's Princeville Ocean Resort Villas in Kauai; and Marriott's Newport Coast Villas in Southern California.

Discerning readers may notice the absence of any Disney timeshares in the top ten. In fact, there are only a handful of Disney timeshare resales listed on RedWeek. This is no accident. To protect its brand and prevent resale prices from crashing, Disney has implemented a very active and owner friendly buy-back system for club members. These practices, in effect, keep a lot of Disney resales off secondary market listing services, including RedWeek.

Resale Market Tracks Consumer Confidence in US Economy

Longtime industry veterans, including many affiliated with major developers, are expecting a 5 to 6 percent increase in retail sales in 2017, continuing a multi-year trend of single-digit increases. They attribute this general improvement, overall, to consumer confidence in the economy. So, 2017 should be another positive year for US travelers. That same sense of confidence should bolster timeshare resales, the experts said, because there are thousands of attractive intervals on the market at very affordable prices. An additional barometer of this trend is that some lenders are beginning to offer loans for resale purchases. One Florida company, vacationclubloans.com, has processed more than $2 million in resale loans for buyers over the past 16 months.

According to the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the trade group for timeshare developers, the overall timeshare market, including resales, is getting a positive push from existing owners who are seeking to buy additional units. In 2015, 46 percent of all retail sales went to first-time buyers. This means, conversely, that 54 percent went to existing owners buying upgrades or additional intervals. ARDA's survey of its own members shows that the average price of a new timeshare on the retail market is $20,000. On the resale market, brokers said, that same money could buy two or three nearly identical timeshares for owners looking to expand their ownership. The key adage for all buyers on the secondary market, they added, is "do your homework" and, if necessary, seek professional assistance before signing a purchase contract.

Here are some other telling statistics that will drive timeshare resales over time: the ages of the owners. According to ARDA, the average timeshare owner is 47 years old. Overall, 67 percent of all timeshare owners are between the ages of 18 and 54. Forty-one percent are between 35 and 54. Thirty-three percent are over 55, while 3 percent are older than 75. Nineteen percent of all owners, meanwhile, are retired and, no doubt, already considering their options for selling or divesting their timeshares when their travel days are numbered.

Together, these owners represent 9.2 million US households, including many families that own multiple timeshares.

Bottom line: there are still people buying timeshares, and many owners are having success on the resale market. RedWeek continues to sign-up new buyers daily who understand the tremendous value of buying a resale vs. purchasing the identical week from the developer.

About the author

This answer was provided by RedWeek's Chief Correspondent, Jeff Weir. Jeff is a California-based journalist who has covered California, Congress, and the White House. He also has roots in Silicon Valley, where he directed public relations and marketing programs for high-tech companies. He is also a timeshare owner and member of RedWeek.com.

Leave a comment

    4 Comments

  • Avatar for joshb24
    joshb24
    Jun 13, 2017 (5 months ago)

    I renewed my membership last week, but for some reason the system won't let me email owners. It still says "Become a member."

    Please let me know how to fix this.

    --Dianne Bright

  • Avatar for phyl21
    phyl21
    RedWeek.com Team
    Jun 13, 2017 (5 months ago)

    Diane -

    Please Contact Us (support@redweek.com) and we will be happy to assist you.

    Phyllis

  • Avatar for jameso315
    jameso315
    Jun 13, 2017 (5 months ago)

    This is a very good article. Thank You. jameso315

  • Avatar for mary1127
    mary1127
    Jun 28, 2017 (5 months ago)

    What is the story about Erie Island resort and camp ground and the timeshare part. did they close closed? I think either Diamond or Wyndham should take over. It is a shame they could be made into something very nice