Fractionals beg to differ from traditional timeshare

Don't call fractionals "timeshares. They are structurally different.

In many property circles, timeshare is a dirty word.

At present, most shared ownership schemes are based on different concepts, hoping to avoid the negative connotations associated with timeshares.

In fractional projects, for example, buyers actually buy a share of an apartment or a villa, which they can resell; in timeshares consumers typically pay only to use a unit for a set period of time.

Most scandals that erupted around timeshares involved unscrupulous promoters who promised buyers they would be able to resell at a profit.

In 2008, the European Parliament passed legislation to regulate hard-sell marketers.

In Dubai, the Real Estate Regulatory Agency has started licensing timeshare agents, restricting their ability to sell shares in unfinished projects, as well as the number of times a unit can be sold.

"They have been very proactive," said Shafi Syed, the regional director of the timeshare company RCI. "This a region where the consumer is not affected by that negative publicity."