Did you get a private island for Christmas? No? Poor you. It’s the latest trend. According to Alan O’Connor, director of the Debutesq Group, there has been a surge in enquiries for private islands recently “in particular from wealthy eastern Europeans and resort operators from Asia”.
O’Connor is brokering Maldivian islands that start at around $7 million for a 50-year lease. Given the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia paid €24 million just to rent three islands for a month earlier this year, $7 million for ownership doesn’t seem too bad. However flood insurance may be a hidden cost, as many of the 1,200 islands in the archipelago sit just three feet above sea level and the oceans are expected to rise almost two feet in the next 100 years – though that’s not deterring billionaires, says O’Connor.
If the Maldives are too far from home for wealthy eastern Europeans, there are islands available for purchase a little nearer.
Not surprisingly, several islands in Greece are being flogged off for between €7 million and €50 million. Norway, Sweden, Ireland and Scotland also have a few for sale.
And you don’t have to have millions of dollars to get a piece of the action. In Clew Bay, in Ireland’s County Mayo, the 19-acre Dorinish Island is going for a mere €300,000. With nothing there but grass for sheep who would buy such an island? Apparently John Lennon did in 1967 when he planned to build a holiday home – before he got sidetracked. Other sub-$1 million islands can be found for sale in Tonga and Nicaragua.