(PRWEB) February 26, 2004
For example, a family of four from Aspen, Colorado trades their vacation home chalet for a one week stay at a family owned apartment in London. With the money saved on accommodations, the family enjoys all their new neighborhood has to offer - museums, galleries, boutiques, theater, shopping and cafes - many of which were recommended by their hosts! And after a day skiing the slopes with their 12-year-old twins, the London couple relax around the stone fireplace recapping their stay in the glorious Rocky Mountains.
A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors estimates there are as many as 7 million vacation homes in the United States alone with an occupancy rate averaging 8 weeks per year. NAR's chief economist, David Lereah states the primary motivation for second-home buying is recreation and location with ocean, river, lake, mountain, and other natural attractions topping the list.
"With such a large number of vacation homes vacant close to 44 weeks per year, it's no surprise that these savvy homeowners are looking to leverage their desirable real estate asset to travel more than ever before." says Helen Bergstein, founder and CEO of the Digsville Home Exchange Club (http://www.digsville.com) "Secondary/vacation home listings have increased every year and are now 20% of the Digsville home listing database. A vacation homeowner has a lot more flexibility in arranging travel dates since the exchange can be non-simultaneous. Additionally, since these homes tend to be located in recreational areas, they are highly desired by other exchangers providing them many options when planning their next vacation exchange."
Home exchange or "swapping" as it is affectionately referred to was a little known travel secret in academia since the 50's and has quietly grown to include families, singles, and seniors spanning many professions and lifestyles. Why the swell of interest? According to Bergstein, the reasons vary. "Maybe it's the softening economy, the large number of secondary homeowners who want more out of their investment or the increase in baby boomer and independent travelers, or all three. Whatever the reason, home exchange is definitely on the rise. Instead of vacationing in an impersonal hotel room, it's much more fun to "stay at home'."
Of course, the Internet has played a key role in the growth of home exchange. It's no surprise that history's greatest communication tool would become travel's hottest matchmaker.
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