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Mountain News: Second-home owners now double nesters

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NEW YORK CITY — Ski town newspapers are rife with stories about second-home owners or, to use the grammatical solecism, second homeowners. Either way, a primary is asserted when, in fact, the distinction is blurring. Owners are spending as much time in one home as the other.

A headline for a story in The New York Times about this blurring phenomenon suggests a different, more neutral phrase: double nesters. And another word: splitters.

Although never mentioning ski and gateway towns, the story told by The Times is a familiar one: "Enabled by cheap airfares, flexible work schedules and technology like cell phones, Blackberrys and the Internet, a growing number of people are shuttling between two or more homes, blurring the age-old distinction between the primary and the vacation home.

"Unlike previous generations, these ‘splitters’ do not think of themselves as living and working in one place and relaxing in another," reported The Times. "On the contrary, they come and go as they please, making friends and doing business in places hundreds, even thousands, of miles apart."

The Times notes that this new peripatetic lifestyle is largely open to people who have outgrown the obligations of young families. "Many splitters are in their late 50’s or early 60’s, closer to retirement than to mandatory attendance at PTA meetings. But instead of the traditional snowbird migration, they are electing to travel between their homes throughout the year."

The Times also explains that this expanded occupancy of one-time vacation homes has resulted in such things as more elaborate kitchens and home offices, but also more maintenance costs and an "underground economy" that helps splitters make the transition from one place to the next.

Aspen real estate up 40 per cent

ASPEN, Colo. — The old record for real estate sales in Pitkin County wasn’t just topped. With a 40 per cent increase in dollar volume last year, the record was shattered, reports The Aspen Times.

Last year’s sales volume of $2.24 billion easily surpassed the previous mark (and old record) set the previous year of $1.6 billion. Sales continued strong through December, notes the newspaper.

Time-share sales, now commonly called fractional ownership, played a role in this growing sales volume, allowing a lower price point for buyers to become invested in the rarified real estate market of Aspen.

"The popularity of fractional ownership in Pitkin County has made Aspen 'affordable' for a new segment of the population and should drive more sales in 2006," wrote Mark Pisani, director of marketing for Land Title Guarantee Co. in an overview of the year.

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