We’ve started 2021 with much more hope and promise than at this time last year, the one we’re trying to pretend never happened.
Now that three different COVID-19 vaccines are available, the pandemic has finally started to subside enough that we can do that.
With the nightmare over, you’re likely examining your finances to determine whether your Disney Vacation Club membership remains worthwhile.
Is now a good time to sell your DVC contract? Let’s talk it through…
Out of Pocket Expenses
I don’t want to dwell on the negatives here, but we should be realistic.
Few people visited Walt Disney World over the last year, and Disneyland stayed closed the entire time.
As such, you paid maintenance fees for a program that didn’t help you in 2020.
Even worse, you could feasibly do the same next January. And maintenance fees aren’t cheap.
This expense counts as a sunk cost for 2021, but you could save yourself some money next January, the time when holiday gift bills come due.
That’s a positive for selling now, right?
Also, you may not feel enthusiastic about the thought of facing massive crowds yet.
After all, our entire society grew more claustrophobic during 2020.
So, you’ve got points to burn, yet you’re struggling with the desire to use them.
That’s one possibility, but let’s examine the other as well. Let’s say that you’re one of the bold tourists who are ready to go back.
Sure, you might visit one of the parks in 2021. However, you likely have extra DVC points that you didn’t use last year.
In that scenario, it’s improbable that you’ll spend all your DVC points even if you do return to Disney.
You likely know from researching contracts during the purchase process that stuffed contracts, one with extra DVC points, sell for more.
Ergo, your choices are to pay maintenance fees (twice!) for something you might not use fully or sell a Disney Vacation Club contract at maximum value.
That’s another solid reason to consider selling your Disney Vacation Club contract.
Similarly, the fact that you’re less inclined to visit a Disney park matters greatly here.
You joined DVC to spend lots of time on Space Mountain, right? This process works the same as owning a car you’re not driving.
Every second you’re not using your membership, you’re making payments for no good reason.
That’s money you could be spending elsewhere in ways that would make you happy.
The harsh reality is that some people have lost their taste for crowded theme parks.
Is that reason enough to sell a DVC contract? No. But it’s a strong consideration.
Buy Low, Sell High
You’ve heard about the economic oddities of the pandemic. A significant percentage of people found themselves unemployed.
You likely wonder whether that makes the current climate less than ideal for sellers. I mean, that sounds like a buyer’s market, right?
Well, there’s another quirk of the pandemic. The median net worth for Americans has increased 18 percent over the last three years.
Many families saved more money than ever in 2020. This quirk occurred because they didn’t spend as much on office-related and travel expenses.
Think about how much you spent on gas last year. It’s the least since you’ve been in the job market, right?
You didn’t burn money at fast food joints or the vending machine, either. Instead, you enjoyed home-cooked meals that stretched your food budget.
With many people in this situation, income increased for a lot of households.
Simultaneously, Disney’s internal surveys suggest that the demand for theme parks has soared.
CEO Bob Chapek has suggested that park attendance will spike as soon as society gets the all-clear. And that brings us to sunny point number two.
Vaccine distribution soared in March of 2021, as millions of Americans received (hopefully) permanent protection against COVID-19.
Forecasts suggest that herd immunity could occur by July 4th. At this point, all the people who dream of Disney may safely return.
You can imagine what that will do on the demand side of DVC.
When you sell a Disney Vacation Club contract right now, you’re timing the transaction brilliantly.
While many outsiders would perceive a buyer’s market, the reality proves the opposite. It is a seller’s market, but people haven’t figured that out yet!
You can feasibly take full advantage of this opportunity to trade your contract for maximum cash that you can spend elsewhere.
Current Market Status
How long have you owned a DVC contract? I ask because this answer will impact your perception of the current market.
Those who purchased over the past two years won’t have seen their investment grow much.
The pandemic effectively stagnated the market for a year. Most Walt Disney World properties would list at roughly the same amount as the start of 2020.
However, anyone who has owned for a while can sell their DVC contract for a respectable profit.
Disney has raised the cost of direct purchases dramatically over the past several years.
In December of 2014, Disney’s Beach Club Villas cost only $130 per point via direct purchase.
The first dramatic increase happened in January of 2015. Beach Club went from $130 to $155 per point back then.
As I type this, Beach Club costs $245 per point. That’s an increase of $115 per point in barely six years.
That’s only one DVC property as an example, but anything that goes up 88 percent in six years will cause some sticker shock.
This change has had a correlating impact on resale market prices. As direct sales price per point has increased, resales has generally done the same.
Most of the time, resales prices don’t go up as much as direct, but there’s an unmistakable ripple effect.
To wit, Disney was exercising its first right of refusal on Bay Lake Tower contracts at $100 per point in early 2016.
Now, you’ll rarely see a listing under $150, and $170 isn’t unusual. That’s a 50 to 70 percent increase in contract value in five years!
How many of your other investments earn 14 percent annual returns? So, you have some financial incentive for profit-taking.
Is Now a Good Time to Sell?
Look, I don’t know you or your financial situation. I also don’t have any idea how many points you own or your home resort.
For these reasons, I can only speak for myself. I’ve definitely contemplated selling a DVC contract over the past few months.
My thought process is simple. I own an older contract, which means that my investment has increased substantially.
Simultaneously, other investment opportunities have arisen that wouldn’t have made sense a few years ago.
I sometimes idly wonder whether I could find better value by selling my DVC contract and using the money on more volatile investments with upside.
Now, I haven’t done so for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that I sometimes write about DVC for a living.
So, I’d feel hypocritical to do that without owning a contract.
Still, I’ve considered it because I stress at the thought of impending Disney park crowds. People hunger for the opportunity to return.
Simultaneously, I know that the price of DVC membership has consistently increased.
I’m never quite sure when the price will reach a logical conclusion, a peak, so to speak. Instead, I’m left guessing about the future cost per point.
I feel good that DVC membership will go up more, as people’s passion for Disney isn’t going away.
Conversely, the idea of selling right now when there’s a seller’s market tempts me. I know that most people misperceive the situation.
I see a financial opportunity there. If you agree with my logic, you should contemplate selling your contract, too.