The demand for cemetery plots and mausoleums is lower than it has been in years and it's a buyer's market, says Robert Fells, attorney for the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association in Sterling, Va. The group represents more than 7,400 cemeteries, funeral homes, crematoriums and other death care service providers in the USA. Fells is quoted in this article at USA Today dot com, which goes on to say one reason for the surplus of plots is the increasing number of people opting for cremation over traditional burial services, said John Ross, president of the Cremation Association of North America (CANA).

Other factors include the high cost of caskets, plots and burials, continued economic unease, environmental concerns and changing religious attitudes about final disposition, Fells said.

"There is definitely a cause and effect between the cremation increase and the drop in cemetery plot sales," he said.

Joyce Wengert, 68, put her crypt space at Florida Memorial Gardens in Rockledge on the market for $6,000 after she opted for cremation.

"I haven't gotten any calls on it," she said.

Cremation was the choice in 32% of the 2.5 million deaths across the USA in 2007, a bump up from 29.5% in 2003, according to data compiled by CANA. Estimates for 2008 show a probable increase to 36%, Ross said. That number is likely to jump to 44% by 2015, according to CANA's website.

Darryl Roberts, a funeral and cemetery consultant in Scottsdale, Ariz., said cemetery plot sales is a difficult market even in the best of times. "The demand is just not there the way it is for other consumer products," he said. "The demand is only there when there is a death in the family."

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