Saturday, July 21, 2007

Paris Pied-à-Terre

I recently went to see Sicko, documentary filmmakrer Michael Moore's new movie about the healthcare industry. To sum it up, people in London, Paris and Havana have universal access to quality healthcare, without the worries about pre-qualifying conditions, premium payments, denial of coverage and potentially bankrupting medical bills that we face in the USA.

As depicted in the film, life in Paris looked particulary civilized, with government-funded nannies folding baby clothes for new Moms, and a post-operative cancer patient sunning his way to health on the Cote d'Azur. Which got me thinking... Maybe it's time to invest in a little place in Paris, just in case my American HMO decides it's in their best interest to send me six feet under.

Andy Sirkin, the local real estate attorney who catalyzed the rise of TICs in San Francisco, features a link on his website to Paris Pied-à-Terre, which offers 1/12 ownership of gracious Parisian flats. Yes, it's a time share concept, which I have always been vaguely suspicious of, especially when I do the math. If they are charging $92,000 per 1/12, that makes a tidy profit for the developers. Far more than if the property were bought and sold outright to and from individual owners.

Let's say, for kicks, I was able to break my TIC into one month shares of $100,000 US and sell all of them. I'd make $1.2 million net instead of the $650,000 it might bring selling to one party. With that kind of profit, I could easily own outright a one bedroom pad here in SF, and a little studio in Paris, plus maybe even a cheap cabana on the Sea of Cortez in Baja, Mexico.

But still, the idea of a more evolved form of fractional ownership that goes beyond the free flight to Vegas timeshare presentation is intriguing. It's a concept that could take off, as boomers retire and have the freedom and means to explore other parts of the world, as well as the desire to claim all the potential fringe benefits that might go along with a foreign address.


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