Following a growing U.S. trend, available intervals at fractional four-season Wolfe Springs Resort will be closed out using an online auction.
The luxury resort, located near Westport, Ont., was developed by Clermont Investments. Facing spring-fed Wolfe Lake and backing onto Evergreen Golf Course, also owned by the developer, the resort is set on 3.41 acres and offers 335 feet of pristine waterfront with sand beach. Amenities at the lodge range from canoes to snowshoes and from a fitness room to board games.
Each suite, with either a lake or golf course view, has more than 1,900 sq. ft. of space. The schedule of occupancy has been designed so only 15 families will ever be onsite together.
The auction opened May 23 on the resort’s remaining 40 intervals and will be conducted in two stages with bidding on the first batch of closing June 2. An interval is the term used to refer to a 1/10 share of ownership in a suite at the resort. Each interval includes five weeks; a fixed summer week, another week in spring, fall and winter, plus a floating week.
Bidding for phase two and the remaining 22 intervals will open June 13 and close June 23.
Minimum bids between $20,000 and $30,000
Most minimum bids will start at between $20,000 and $30,000, more than 70 per cent off the last listed developer price. These intervals were recently priced by the developer at $69,999 and $89,999.
The online auction is being managed by Gordon’s Estate Services, which last year auctioned vacation lots for Touchstone On Lake Muskoka. (Property Biz Canada, May 23, 2013: Auction the answer for Muskoka time share)
Gordon’s broker/partner Manson Slik says the industry is moving towards more online sales.
“In the U.S., I would estimate 10 per cent of this kind of inventory is sold through online auctions. In Canada it might be a fraction of one per cent but the idea is catching on.”
The online auction allows people to tour the property at their leisure and then take part from home, rather than travelling twice and having to make split second decisions during a live auction.
As in a conventional auction, Slik expects most of the bidding to take place in the final 24 hours.
Originally owned by Westport locals George and Alice McCulloch, the lodge began life as a family fishing retreat. In 2006, the Derbyshire family (also local and connected through the McCullochs’ daughter-in-law), offered to buy the property.
Slik says because the property’s redevelopment had originally been intended as a place for the Derbyshire’s friends and family to visit and stay, quality above and beyond has been incorporated throughout. “This resort has been built to last 150 years. The quality of workmanship and the quality of every detail right down to the towels is exceptional.”
“One of a kind development in Eastern Ontario”
“Wolfe Springs Resort is a one of a kind development in Eastern Ontario,” Clermont president Matthew Derbyshire said in a media release. “There is a great sense of community, a healthy owners association and solid reserve fund. This auction will round out the community by pushing the final 40 of 150 intervals into the hands of end user owners, which will be good for everyone.”
Slik says he expects the new owners to represent a mix of new blood and people with ties to existing owners. “This is a great opportunity for family and friends to come together for vacation. They’ll be buying ownership at much less than its value, and as soon as the auction closes, the intervals revert to full market price.”
Fractional ownership is said to have had its start in corporate jets, moving into the likes of luxury yachts and fine art. The advantage of fractional ownership is a lower investment along with the benefits of no maintenance.
It has also been touted as environmentally friendly because the property can be used year-round by multiple people. The alternative is multiple people using more land and building materials for individual properties that remain vacant for much of the year.
Gordon’s Estate Services, which says it is the only realty brokerage in Ontario offering auction sales, has sold more than 1,500 properties by auction.