According to John Passerini of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, searches for private islands on the company’s website had more tripled since 2015 through 2016.
Host of HGTV’s ‘Island Hunters’, Chris Krolow noted interest in islands has increased since 2012 when the show began. He added that his properties sales website, Private Islands Online gets twice as many visitors on days when the show goes on air. While more viewings don’t necessarily translate to more sales, Krolow admitted sales of private islands have improved since the global recession. In January, Hatchet Caye, a private island located off the coastal town of Placencia, Belize, was listed for $9.9 million.
While the market for private islands is yet to return to its former strength before the global economic meltdown, prices have dropped, attracting a new crop of wealthy millennials. Recall that in the mid-2000s when there was a rise in sales to celebrities, ambitious owners wanting a piece of the cake inflated their prices exponentially.
Farhad Vladi, founder and president of Vladi Private Islands pointed out that while majority of island sales come from middle-age persons who are 50 and above, younger persons between 30 and 40 years don’t buy but rent for a number of weeks. Noting that the rental market for private islands is seeing significant growth, Vladi insists the market is moving from real estate to tourism. While he attributes this to the younger generation’s disinterest in responsibility, this trend is likely to keep private island sales down.
It would appear the business of renting islands is not exclusive to the extremely wealthy as affordable options such as Bird Island become available. Listed on Airbnb for under $700 a night, the island was fully booked until June 2018, by the end of January.