Posted in Features on July 9, 2008
Who hasn’t dreamed of living on a private island, away from the hustle and bustle of city life? But, how often have you dismissed this dream with thoughts that you couldn’t possibly afford this luxury? Well, you may need to rethink your dreams, because many private islands now are listed for less than $500,000 USD. In fact, you can find islands for less than $100,000. All you need to do is spend a little time searching online for your dream environment.
The point to remember in this situation is that you get what you pay for. Cheaper islands, on the whole, tend to be undeveloped. This means that you may need to acquire electricity, plumbing and land suitable for building to complete your dream of living on said island. Additionally, it may be tough to obtain a mortgage for island purchases, because most islands lack ‘comparables’ for valuation purposes. So, you’ll either need cash on hand or a solid business plan for development that could add valuation to your island (such as a resort).
On the other hand, you can employ such amenities as prefabricated homes, easy-to-install solar power, reverse-osmosis water filtration systems and composting toilets. All these items, which are perfect for island living, are within reach for an island dweller’s average budget. So, keep these plus-side items in mind when you tackle your search. The ten islands listed below will give you a head start, as they lead to real estate businesses that can help you realize your private island dream.
The list below is organized by price, with the least expensive listed first, and the most expensive at the end.
- West Bank Lighthouse: The U.S. General Services Administration actually is auctioning two lighthouses/islands in New York. The one shown here, the West Bank Lighthouse, and the Old Orchard Shoal Lighthouse both are for sale. Both properties are open for bids starting at $10,000, and – as of this writing – no bids have been offered. On the plus side, both lighthouses offer 360-degree water views and both lighthouses retain basic integrity despite neglect. Plus, the new owners will claim a bit of history with either purchase. But, both lighthouses have been neglected, and they will be sold “as is” without warranties. Additionally, both properties require an easement to legally occupy the submerged land, and the properties must be maintained in accordance with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and in consultation with the New York State Historic Preservation Office. The Old Orchard Shoal Lighthouse is located approximately 3.5 miles south of New Drop Beach on Staten Island, Richmond County, New York. The keeper’s quarters consist of approximately 1000 square feet of space with porthole-styled windows. The interior is brick-lined in the first three stories. The West Bank Lighthouse is located in Lower New York Bay and is situated approximately 3.2 miles east of Staten Island, Richmond County, New York. This property sits on a man-made island and includes a riprap breakwater which extends westward approximately 100 feet from the lighthouse. There are two pilings which serve as moorings, and the interior is accessed by a metal platform and ladder. Both properties are accessible only by boat. Current price: Starting at $10,000 USD.
- Dolphin Bay Island: This is a small island that consists of 6,000 sq. ft., but it is located in a very nice area near Bocatorito, Panama, with views of Dolphin Bay. Plus, access to the island is easy, with a connection to San Cristobal Island via a strip of mangrove and access by boat within twenty minutes from Bocas. You’ll find a few large trees and some pineapple plants, and the island sits in protected waters with deep water nearby. The island displays elevation, and it is perfect for a single-family home. Current price: $40,000 USD.
- Bereck Island: Canadian islands remain a relative bargain, with several available for less than $100,000. Bereck Island, located on Stuart Lake in British Columbia, Canada, represents one of these bargains. Stuart Lake is the seventh largest lake in B.C., and it is a fisherman’s paradise stocked with rainbow trout, lake trout and kokanee. The island is approximately one acre, and it is surrounded by a shallow rocky shelf on its south side that is exposed during low water level and that is visible during winter. The island is accessible by boat or by floatplane. Bereck Island is zoned as residential, so there should not be any problems building a dwelling. Nearby towns include Fort St. James, which is accessible by paved road and is located about 60 km north of Vanderhoof and 160 km northwest of Prince George. Current price: CAD $65,000 ($64,327.21 USD).
- David Island: Settle down on approximately five forested acres in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. David Island lies in the bay of Port Felix, about 30km from the city of Canso and near the town of Whitehead. The existing simple 12′ x 16′ cabin was built in 2003, and it does not support a septic system. But, it will provide a roof over your head as you plan for your future residence (which is, in principal, possible). This island could serve as a great fishing camp, provided you bring potable water. The view includes the mainland and other islands, which lie in the Tor Bay direction. Current price: CAD $75,000 ($74,474.55 USD).
- Chris Pinnacle: This sale consists of two islands, which comprise an area of approximately 2.47 acres or one hectare located in Jordan, on the western side of Guimaras, Philippines. One island contains a small bamboo hut with an outside seating area and a concrete pier. While no electricity runs to the islands, it is possible to transport power and water across from the mainland via underwater pipe. The mainland is only a few hundred meters, or a five-minute boat ride, from the island. The larger of the two islands holds a large area at the peak where a house could be situated. This view is magnificent, as you can enjoy the sunset to the west and unusual rock formations along the coastline to the east. The smaller island is in ‘virgin condition,’ and it also contains a flat top. Both islands are within viewing distance of a resort situated a mere 200 meters away on the mainland. This location and ease of access, in addition to the unusual stone formations, the potential for sea-kayaking and diving and snorkeling (yes, coral formations are abundant here) make these islands ideal for resort development. Current price: $100,000 USD.
- Cockroach Caye: If you want to start from scratch, Cockroach Caye (shaped like a cockroach), located fifteen miles east of Belize City, Belize, Central America, is a great place to begin. This unspoiled, undeveloped virgin swamp-free ten-acre property features 500 feet of Caribbean sea front in Cockroach Bay with approximately 300 yards to the eighteen-mile-long reef. The island sits on top of the reef that extends from Turneffe Island, located a mere 300 feet west of this island. The island will need to be cleared for development, as it is packed with coconut trees and mangrove. But, you’ll discover beautiful white sand along its beaches. If you are into fishing, you’ll discover tarpon and bonefish in the nearby flats and in the deep blue you can fish for Marlin, Sail Fish, Tuna , Wahoo and more. Cockroach Caye is part of the Turneffe Atoll , which is about thirty miles long and about eight miles wide, and is the largest of the three atolls in the area. Turneffe is the closest to the mainland and is home to a number of world-class dive sites. The atoll has a scattering of fishing camps, some of which are permanently occupied, and some of which are used only on a seasonal basis. At peak times, when combined with tourists and researchers, the atoll is inhabited by approximately 300 people. If you arrive by air to Belize City, it will take you about one hour to get to your island by boat. The seller is eager, and will consider all offers and can offer some financing as well. Current price: $189,900 USD.
- Lenur Island: Lenur Island is a beautiful and unspoiled thirty-seven acre island, situated in the crystal clear waters of South Malakula, Republic of Vanuatu, Oceania. The archipelago is some 1,090 miles east of northern Australia, 310 miles north-east of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and south of the Solomon Islands. The archipelago is of volcanic origin, and maintains a tropical or sub-tropical climate. The island is surrounded by small trees and a few coconut palms and there is about three fresh water streams that run from the mainland to the island’s harbor. From all claims, this island is the best site for a fishing stop for people who decided to come for game fishing in Vanuatu. It claims the best harbor and beautiful sunset views. Current price: $400,000 USD.
- Eagle’s Nest Island: Who would have thought that an affordable island could be found in the heart of the U.S.? Eagle’s Nest Island, located in Bath Springs, Decatur County, Tennessee, offers over 167 acres of undisturbed hardwoods, stone and sand in the middle of the Tennessee River. The island holds some Civil War history, as Union troops searched for Confederate troops here in 1863. Decatur County and its cities and communities (including Parsons and Decaturville) boasts an active and progressive Chamber of Commerce, fine medical facilities, one of the best paramedic and emergency response teams in the State of Tennessee, a host of volunteer fire departments, an all volunteer, highly professional rescue squad and an excellent education system. The county borders fifty miles of undeveloped river property, a tourism card that brings many visitors to this area to enjoy fishing, camping, swimming and river recreation, sports and hunting. The island is approachable only by boat. Current Price: $350,000 USD.
- Carrington Cay: If you’ve been to Great Abaco Island and fell in love with this Bahamian island, then this treat is right up your alley. This island is located just 300 feet offshore from Great Abaco Island, but it provides the seclusion that only a 1.4-acre private island can offer. Still, you would be located within minutes of shopping and other urban conveniences at Leisure Lee, an exclusive canal community filled with quality homes. Carrington Cay also is located just three miles from the more cosmopolitan Treasure Cay, a thriving luxury resort with a full-service marina, golf course, shopping and every amenity imaginable. The island has good deep water for dockage at western end (eight-foot depth at mean low water), and spectacular views of nearby Great Guana Cay and Treasure Cay. A rare bonus is that due to the prevailing winds, the island is essentially insect-free, and with cable, electricity and potable water available for hook-up from the mainland, it will be easy to establish all the comforts of home on your private island paradise as soon as you sign the papers. Current price: $455,000 USD.
- Katunayake Island: Located a mere two-minute speed boat ride from the west coast of Sri Lanka, this ten-acre Asian tropical island begs for an eco-tourism resort development. Why? For one reason, the buyer is required to divest in an Eco-Friendly operation. Secondly, the convenience of the nearby Bandaranayake International Airport and the short distance to Colombo, Sri Lanka, makes it easy for visitors to gain access to your property. Finally, the island is a beauty, with deciduous woods on the west side and green grasses and swaying trees on the eastern shores. The lagoon is peaceful, and you’ll enjoy birds that nest on the island, great sunsets and sunrises, swimming and fishing from the beaches or rocks, caving and shell collecting. Although the island lacks electricity and phone service (cell signal is available), you can develop connectivity easily from the main road. Current price: $500,000 USD.
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