Home exchange, also known as house swapping, is a form of lodging in which two parties agree to offer each other homestays for a set period of time. Since no monetary exchange takes place, it is a form of barter, collaborative consumption, and sharing. Home exchange can cover any type of residence including apartments, houses, holiday cottages, boats, or recreational vehicles. It can include an exchange of the entire home or just a room. The length of the swap can vary from a weekend to over a year. The swap can be simultaneous or non simultaneous. Home exchanges are usually arranged via specific types of social networking services, most of which charge a fee.
Summer is traditionally the peak season for house swapping, as families travel during school breaks.
Organized home exchange originated in 1953 with the creation of Intervac International by a group of European teachers looking to travel internationally economically during their summer breaks. That same year, teacher David Ostroff created a home exchange network called "Vacation Exchange Club" (now HomeLink) in New York City.
Participants tend to be well-educated and well-traveled. Home exchanges are popular with teachers during school holidays, particularly during the summer, and with senior citizens, who have more time to travel.
A 2008 survey conducted by homeexchangeguru.com showed that 92% of participants have attended university and more than 60% have done post graduate work. Of participants, 52% travel with children or consist of groups of three or more, while 48% travel without children or in groups of two or less.
A 2013 study by the University of Bergamo showed that participants were more skewed to higher age groups, with 28.3% aged 45–54, 18.7% 65+ and only 5.9% under age 34. The study showed that 84.3% of respondents seek out museums and nature, 67% value environmentally-friendly tourism, and 98% express interest in cultural heritage. Fair trade food (63%) and organic food (73%) are also important. The study noted the strong degree of trust necessary in collaborative consumption, with 75% agreeing that most people are trustworthy. 93% were satisfied with their experience, with 81% having swapped homes more than once.
Home exchange was the subject of the 2006 romantic comedy, "The Holiday," directed by Nancy Meyers, in which a home swap between Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz leads to romance with Jack Black and Jude Law.
Permanent home exchange
There are several situations in which people have exchanged homes permanently:
- During the subprime mortgage crisis, home exchange was used to help buyers and sellers when financing was harder to obtain.
- Mutual exchange is a mechanism for tenants of public housing in the United Kingdom to swap their homes.
- During ethnic conflicts, such as in Iraq in 2006, members of ethnic minorities have swapped homes with friends who are members of different ethnic minorities in a different neighborhood. The goal is that each minority resident ends up in a neighborhood where their ethnicity is in the majority, thus reducing violence.
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- "My House Is Yours" (PDF). University of Bergamo. May – June 2013.
- Baxter-Wright, Dusty (10 December 2017). "16 things you didn't know about The Holiday". Cosmopolitan.
- Levitz, Jennifer (8 February 2008). "Slow Market Prompts Some People to Try House Swapping". Chicago Tribune.
- "How to permanently trade your home for another property - FAQs". Zillow. 6 June 2008.
- Farnsworth, Amy (23 March 2009). "Can't sell your house in this market? Trade it". Christian Science Monitor.
- Cavaglieri, Chiara (21 March 2009). "When there's no way out, try a home swap". The Independent.
- "Swapping your council or housing association home". DirectGov.
- Castaneda, Antonio (28 July 2006). "Iraqis House-Swapping to Escape Violence". The Washington Post.
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