4.4 mln Americans bought timeshares

Timeshare sales climbed 16% during 2006 to $10 bln over 2005 sales of $8.6 bln, according to Ernst & Young. As of January 1, 2007, there were 1,615 vacation ownership resorts operating in the US. There are a total of 4.4 mln US timeshare owners, up from 4.1 mln in 2005, 3.87 mln in 2005, 3.4 mln in 2003, and three mln in 2002. The number of timeshare units in the US, as of January 1, 2007 was 176,232, with 14,000 newly constructed units in 2006. Looking ahead, study respondents predict continued growth as they continue to build new resorts, including approximately 11,000 new units forecast for 2007 and firm commitments for approximately 47,000 new units in 2008 and beyond. Occupancy at US timeshare resorts averaged 80.9% in 2006, including over 67% who were either owners or exchange guests and more than 13% who were renters and/or marketing guests. By comparison, occupancy at US hotels was 63.4% in 2006.