Ben Woodhead Deputy editor - digital

Ben Woodhead is deputy editor - digital at the Financial Review Group. He writes on business, technology, politics and the economy and can be found on BRW, The Australian Financial Review and Smart Investor.

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Adventure islands going cheap

Published 17 September 2012 13:09, Updated 20 September 2012 04:16

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Adventure islands going cheap

Broker Vladi Private Islands lists Scotland’s Eilean an Seamraig for £45,000. Source: www.vladi-private-islands.de

Greece attracted some attention online last month when Prime Minister Antonis Samaras indicated that the debt-addled nation may offload some of it’s island to raise a little extra cash.

But, via The Economist, comes a warning for would-be island owners that buying a little piece of paradise can come with considerable risks. Not least among the problems, the bottom has apparently fallen out of the so-called “adventure island” market.

That’s not a problem if you’re playing at the luxury end of the market – yes, there are islands and there are luxury islands – where it’s reported prices are holding up.

“Owners of so-called ‘adventure islands’ – cheap, with fewer amenities – are ditching their retreats,” The Economist writes, citing Hamburg-based island broker Farhad Vladio of Vladi Private Islands.

“Before the bust, prices soared as these places were seen as good investments. Mr Vladi says a Panamanian resort he sold for $US100,000 in 2003 was given a price tag of $US3 million five years later. Now prices are declining. A densely wooded isle in Florida reckoned to be worth $US1.6 million before the crash sold for $US260,000 in June.”

Vladi has around 120 islands from 22 countries on his books, with prices starting down around the £45,000 mark for Scotland’s Eilean an Seamraig. At the top end, prices are strictly by request and listed properties inlcude the 550 acre Bonds Cay in the Bahamas, which is under contract.

The Economist weighs up some of the other downsides of owning less luxurious islands, such as fresh water supply, and also rattles off a couple examples of stars who parted company with their getaways over problems such as disputes with tribesmen (Mel Gibson) and endangered iguanas (Nicolas Cage).

The venerable publication ends on the droll observation “Climate change could mean sea-levels rising. That would put many island investments underwater”.

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