DUBAI // While some people who enjoyed the finer things in life in the economic boom are offloading their big-ticket purchases, others are looking at lowering expenses through joint ownership of private planes, holiday homes and yachts. Almost 50 years after the idea of timeshare was introduced in the French Alps to help a group of friends buy a holiday home by pooling their money, it is undergoing a revival in the Emirates.
"The main attraction is the cost sharing," said Wael Hussein Amer, the deputy general manager for financial and administration affairs at the Dubai timeshare company Arabian Falcon. "Take an example of people who maintained holiday homes in Dubai. They would only use the homes a few times in a year but they would bear full purchase and maintenance costs of the properties. "With timeshare, they can still have their holiday a few times a year at a quality property, paying a fraction of the cost of holiday-home maintenance."
After the global financial crisis, many luxury goods buyers have found themselves with less cash. To some, the timeshare is a viable alternative that can enable them to maintain their luxury lifestyle within constrained budgets. There is also a question of risk. At a time when people are losing money, they are more cautious about their investments. Instead of buying a Dh3 million (US$816,000) property, they would now prefer to pay Dh100,000 or less for a timeshare, Mr Amer said.
Following the trend in other parts of the world, the idea of timeshare in the UAE is growing beyond property to luxury items such as yachts. "We are going to start a yacht time-sharing in the first or second week of March," said Sam al Abbasi, the managing director of 4Yacht Arabia. "We will have three or four yachts for time-sharing in the UAE." 4Yacht will have timeshare options ranging from a few weeks to several months.