Every owner association consists of 21 families, who own 5 beautiful vacation properties at 5 attractive destinations together. Each of the five vacation properties are worth about four times more than the single investment per family.
Founders Anders Heisel and Laila & Anders Køj, started marketing their concept and services in Europe in late 2010. The financial crisis was still in the back of people’s minds, but eventually the first families signed on and in 2012 the first owner association was formed.
Headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, the focus was initially European vacation destinations. The concept has clearly resonated, with more than 700 families joining a 21-5 owner association and more than $240,000,000 invested in over one hundred and thirty 21-5 vacation homes. (editorial update: by January 2021 over $255,000,000 has been invested in in more than 155 homes)
The company has now brought this concept to North America, with regional offices in Boston and Vancouver, supporting the growth of US and Canadian focused Associations.
21 owners equally share the ownership of 5 private properties in 5 different destinations. Each of the five vacation properties are worth about four times more than the single investment per family. Members pay an initial purchase fee to buy the homes and then monthly dues to cover upkeep and operations. Homes are purchased for cash as investors join an association, so there is no debt on the homes.
The team at 21-5 takes care of the purchase, renovation, furnishing, maintenance and management of the homes. Meaning member families and their guests can just arrive and enjoy their vacations without the typical concerns of home ownership. Any large maintenance items are discussed by the ownership group and can be planned out in advance, with 21-5 providing professional project management during renovation and maintenance.
21-5 offers various levels of portfolios and homes, usually termed Family, Large and Grande. The main difference between these is the size of the homes, for instance homes in a Large association may have 3-4 bedrooms, while homes in a Grande association would have 4-5 bedrooms.
In North America there are four associations currently open and available to new investors.
The two US focused associations are planning to buy homes in Cape Cod & Martha's Vineyard, MA, West Palm Beach, FL, Vail Valley, CO, St. US Virgin Islands, USVI, and Stowe, VT. Homes in the Large association will have an average value over $2m, a minimum of 3 bedrooms with ample space to house at least 8 people on vacation. The plan is to have a private pool in Cape Cod, MA, West Palm Beach, FL, and the USVI.
The Grande villas will have 4-5 bedrooms with ample space to house at least 10 people on vacation, and an average value of about $4m.
In Canada, the Large is looking at C$2m homes in Hawaii, Whistler, Tofino, Palm Springs and Okanagan Valley and Canada Grande plans to buy C$3m+ homes in Hawaii, Whistler, Palm Springs, New York City and Okanagan Valley.
Most properties are renovated and updated as needed before the owners start to use them, and 21-5 takes care of all the fittings, decor and furnishings.
The goal is that all 5 properties are in use in approximately 12-24 months from the inauguration of the association.
Each owner has, on average, 12 weeks available to enjoy their five vacation homes, which is more time than most use. Therefore, many of the owners give weeks to family and close friends. However, the vacation properties cannot be rented out to obtain any rental income.
21-5 says that most families use their vacation homes about 6-9 weeks every year. This leaves plenty of room in the booking calendar for both long-term vacation planning and spontaneous trips.
Reservation can be made up to two years in advance and use a points system to balance out the seasonal demand. 21-5 notes that owners typically book a mix of peak and low season, but if an owner wants to travel in primarily the low season they could easily stay for over 17 weeks a year.
“Families typically have 2 or 3 of the homes that are favorites” said Tomas Bruun, VP North America, “fortunately they are all different.”
Members in different associations can also exchange, for instance if a US family wanted to go to Tuscany, then they can post an exchange request to match with an owner family in Europe. Exchanges are very flexible as members just use their points and families don’t need to go during the same week, just during the same year. “We give them the options to expand their horizons” noted Tomas Bruun.
The price for the US Large association is $550,000 and shared monthly expenses of $995. The Grande association is $950,000 per share and $1,425 per month.
In Canada the Large investment is C$495,000 and shared monthly expenses of C$895. The Grande association is C$795,000 per share and C$1,195 per month.
The monthly shared expenses cover property taxes, insurance, any HOA fees, small standard repairs and inventory replacement and administration. After each stay there is also a fee to cover professional cleaning and utilities.
Just like any good investment, it’s always smart to think about potential exits before you join. 21-5 emphasizes that this is a long-term lifestyle choice but recognizes that people will want to leave, so investors can leave whenever they want. They can either sell their share themselves or ask 21-5 for help in selling, and they set their own sale price. 21-5 says that half of the owners who have sold, in the European associations, have changed to a new 21-5 association for various reasons - most deciding that they wanted more space.
Overall 21-5 seems to have found a good formula, noting that in a member survey in 2019, 97.2% of investors replied that they would be "likely" or "very likely" to recommend 21-5 to others. “We call it, Dreams fulfilled - Life Elevated,” said Tomas Bruun.