Sure, a large and sandy tropical island will seriously set you back (the undeveloped Caribbean isle pictured here is listed at $5.5 million), but some small, rocky islands—like the 1-acre Wohoa Bay in Maine, 30 miles east of Acadia National Park—can go for as little as $40,000.
Pictured: White Island, Grenada
Banks generally won’t grant loans for the purchase of private islands, because without comparable properties on the market nearby, it’s almost impossible to establish a clear-cut monetary value, explains Chris Krolow, CEO of Private Islands Inc., the largest marketplace for international private island listings and sales.
Pictured: Nukudrau Island, Fiji
A house that might go for $1.5 million elsewhere does not add the same amount to an island’s listing price. If anything, particularly quirky houses can sometimes pull down the final purchase price, says Krolow, because new owners might have different needs for the property.
Pictured: Clapboard Island, Maine
the Bahamas or Belize. Both countries are relatively easy to get to from the United States and have the tropical feel that many potential island owners are after. There’s a lot of interest in purchasing Greek islands, but logistical difficulties and bureaucracy usually slow down the process and make people look elsewhere. The Belize island pictured here is currently for sale.
Pictured: Little St. George's Caye, Belize
Owning an island means being responsible for the area’s ecosystem. Anything an owner does—say, getting rid of snakes—could have unintended consequences, such as creating a rodent problem. Krolow advises looking to local regulations on the nearest mainland for guidance.
Pictured: Koome Island, Uganda
Krolow notes that new yachting technology is opening up possibilities for private islands. For example, small water desalination units made for yachts are easy to transport and capable of cleaning enough water for single-occupancy residential islands.
Pictured: Necker Island
Even some of the wealthiest owners rent their islands to guests, employing full-time staffs. Doing so ensures that the island is ever-ready for visitors, and that owners won’t be greeted by surprises when it’s their own off-the-grid time. Multibillionaire Richard Branson rents out his property Necker Island, pictured above, starting at $78,000 per night.
Pictured: Necker Island