Overview

What is Shared Ownership?
Shared ownership, sometimes also referred to as fractional ownership, is a well accepted method of making big-ticket, luxury recreational products available to a larger group of potential owners. The cost of owning an airplane, yacht or luxury houseboat is prohibitive or impractical for many families or businesses, but shared ownership allows those same groups to share the cost of the asset with a limited number of other owners.

Once a family or business has made the decision to plan a Lake Powell Houseboat vacation, they would typically have two alternatives: Buy a houseboat or rent a houseboat from a concessionaire on the lake. With the cost of a houseboat ranging from $100,000 to $1,000,000 along with additional annual maintenance and storage costs of approximately $30k, most folks cannot afford to commit that much money to one vacation option. Renting a houseboat, while much more cost effective for a one-time trip at $5,000 to $14,000 for one week, will usually provide a boat that is well below the quality and luxury expected by most groups. Shared ownership fills the gap between the two options and provides a cost-effective way to have access to a boat that is more luxurious and offers more amenities than a rental boat at a fraction of the cost of owning your own houseboat.

When you purchase a share in a luxury houseboat, you are buying a membership unit in an Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). Your membership unit represents a percentage ownership in the corporation and makes you responsible for the same percentage of costs associated with the houseboat. The benefit is that those costs are shared among a limited number of owners, providing a very affordable alternative to either renting or owning your own houseboat.

Let’s do the Math
The following comparison is made using generally accepted market-based prices for the purchase and rental of a comparably equipped, 75’x16’houseboat on Lake Powell:

Initial costAnnual Cost1st year total
Houseboat Purchase$500,000$30,000$530,000
Shared Ownership$40,000$ 2,500$4,500*
Houseboat Rental
(75-ft Odyssey / Prime Season)
$ 0$ 13,000$13,000

*Includes $2,000 depreciation on the share, launch & retrieve turnaround and annual maintenance fee

Shared-Ownership vs. Timeshare
Although shared-ownership appears to function like a timeshare because of the pre-determined time periods associated with a share, it is actually much different. With a timeshare arrangement, the owner is only contracting to “use” the asset that is still owned by the timeshare company. There is no ownership of real property, only the right to use an asset. With shared ownership, the owner is actually purchasing a membership unit representing an equity position in a privately held corporation. The purchase of a membership unit in an LLC is a real asset that is owned by the buyer versus a right to use another company’s asset, making shared ownership much different than a vacation timeshare.

Because the membership unit is an equity investment, it retains value and can be sold or transferred to a new owner at any time. Depreciation on the share averages $1,500 to $2,000 per year. This allows an owner to sell their existing membership unit and buy into a new boat with new amenities every few years.