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October 19, 2021

Now's the best time to buy that private island

“Think it’s tough selling a house in this market? Try unloading an island.”1307942_lefkada_island

Hard for me to beat a lead sentence like that, which comes from Blythe Lawrence of the Seattle Times.

But yes, if you can believe it, the latest in a long line of luxury sufferings these days is the private island market – a lucrative global business gone south with the world’s slumping real estate biz.

According to the Seattle Times, there are about 500 islands for sale right now, a figure that’s up about 20 per cent from where it was a few years back.

In fact, things are so bad in the private island market, only one internationally-marketed isle has been sold at auction in the past five years; New York’s Fox Island, a 263-acre property that attracted 100 bidders, was hawked for $3.78 million in 2007.

The rich, it seems, have been scared off in recent years.

“As soon as you hit the $2.5-$3 million mark, the number of buyers just plummets,” Chris Krolow, CEO of broker Private Islands, told the newspaper. “They want to build a vacation home, and for $3 million they can do that anywhere in the world.”

Still, that’s not to say three mil-plus private islands aren’t still flooding the market.

For a cool $160 million, you could own Rangyai Island, the most expensive private island currently for sale. The luxurious property is just off the coast of Thailand, 20 minutes from Phuket International Airport and features 110-acres of white sand beaches and lush tropical forests.

Canadian fat cats with money to burn may want to consider something closer to home, and a quick look at the Private Islands listings shows there’s something for everyone.

Pym Island, for example, can be yours for $9.8 million. The Victoria, B.C.-area isle features five acres with four separate guest cottages, tennis court, caretaker’s residence and dock in place.

Looking for heat? No problem. Maybe you can negotiate a cheaper price for Vernon Island, just off the coast of Antigua. The $2.1 million listing gives you 22-acres of excellent beach and fishing terrain, but has no power, water or residence as-is.

“A lot of clients today wait and get everything for half the price,” one island broker source tells the Seattle Times.

Maybe $1 million’s all it’ll take, then, for you to get a Caribbean paradise of your very own.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...