Jul 1, 2011 | Marmot, Summer 2011

Freehold Proven Popular

Mount Washington Alpine Resort is preparing to offer a second phase of freehold ownership sometime in the fall of 2011.

This comes after an overwhelming response to the first offering, which closed Dec. 23, 2010. The Resort initiated freehold ownership proceedings last fall after coming to the realization it was necessary for ongoing growth and sustainability.

“Developers are far more inclined to build on freehold land than leasehold property,” freehold sales consultant Anya Macleod said, “and future real estate offerings by Mount Washington Ski Resort will be on this basis.”

The initial phase was to be offered to the first 100 property owners who signed up, or until the end of one year – whichever came first.

The 100 spots filled in four days, Macleod said, catching the Resort by surprise. “We had no way of gauging what sort of response we would get,” she said.

Another 100 spots were opened for the initial offering, and things finally had to close on December 23, 2010.

After an expected amount of attrition, the Resort estimates 30 per cent of its property will be converted to freehold by the end of the summer, she said.

There are two reasons compelling people to switch to freehold ownership, she said.

The practical reason is the way financial institutions view freehold compared to leasehold: they are stricter about lending for sub-leased property, she explained. Leaseholds are viewed as depreciating assets and thus poor investments.

The second reason is more emotional: providing a solid family legacy through home ownership as opposed to leasing property. There is no guarantee the lease will be renewed.

Macleod said plans were still undecided as to how the second phase would be offered – although the popular choice is to keep it open for a certain period of time. The Resort will also get information out earlier, so the offering will not happen in the middle of the Christmas holiday season this time, she added.

Proceeds from the freehold conversion will be directly invested in ongoing improvements of Resort infrastructure, Macleod said.

“It’s part of the Resort’s long-term commitment to remaining competitive and economically sustainable in the years to come.”

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