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Private Island Owners

When we think about private island owners, the mind conjures images of sunglass sporting shipping magnates or paparazzi-plagued A-listers hiding out in the Bahamas.


From a demographic point of view, island owners tend to be male, in their 50s, mavericks in business or entrepreneurs hailing from the U.S. But since Moscow converted to capitalism years ago and Asia finally embraced American excess, the latter part of that demographic is starting to shift.

Some buyers regard private islands as status symbols, owning them to make interesting dinner party conversation: “Dahling, did Thurston tell you we bought the most delightful private island in the South Pacific… the locals are soooo quaint. You must come and visit.” This variety of island owner rarely visits their property and later sells because the maintenance is more demanding than they imagined. The celebrity island owners we hear about are people willing to pay for their privacy. Privacy seems to be elusive for Johnny Depp who considered changing the name of his Bahamian island, Little Hall’s Pond Cay, to “Keep Away Island, Stay Away Island, or Fuck Off Island”.


Other buyers are speculators hoping to snap up islands in undeveloped areas and make a mint down the road. The classic real estate formula of ‘buy low, sell high’ doesn’t always apply to private islands. If you’re looking to get rich quick buying and selling islands, you’d probably have better luck joining Amway. Flipping islands is no mean feat; some islands stay on the market for years, disappointing investors looking to make an easy buck. Because islands are a niche form of real estate, the right buyer needs to come along.

And then there are true island lovers, people passionate about buying private islands to create a personal retreat or to develop their islands into eco-resorts. This type of buyer is serious about taking stewardship of their private island property. Buyers of this sort are often ordinary people, seeking extraordinary adventure off the grid. Regular people own islands, but there is nothing regular about owning a private island. The one thing that sets island owners apart from regular property owners is just that – they own an island. Private island owners are slightly unconventional creatures, seeking escape from the madding crowd.