While private islands have always been a significant wealth symbol and bucket list item amongst celebrities, oil tycoons and other HNWIs – will demand for them amplify in a post Covid-19 world?
By: George Damianos, Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty
Posted on: July 17, 2020
Private islands offer the ultimate social distancing and social isolation. And as this increasingly becomes our new normal, will islands become more in demand as we enter the post-Covid 19 world? And despite recording relatively low Covid-19 cases in mainland areas of the Bahamas, at Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty we have seen a dramatic increase in enquires for renting and buying private islands.
Private islands will only be a solution for a privileged few, and traditionally, they were bought as a holiday home. Will we see private islands become a more permanent residence for many HNWIs? With advances in technology and accessibility, I think this will be the case.
In my experience, not every HNWI client was attracted to the idea of a private island. Many prefer the quick access to high-end restaurants and shops, and being close to family and friends. However with Covid-19 forcing isolation onto the majority of the population, I think we will see the buyer profile for private islands widen significantly.
Blue Island, the most expensive private island for sale in the world, costing an astronomical $75,000,000, boasts its own 5,700 foot asphalt runway and over three miles of beautiful coastline. Access to this island is fast, easy and discreet from the US or Europe via private or chartered jet. Customs and Immigration is available on island for a seamless arrival and departure – making it perfect for an international HNWI buyer.
Elsewhere in The Bahamas – Elizabeth Island, only three miles from George Town has six large beaches and a private marina that can accommodate a float-plane. The island also has a screen house where a variety of vegetables grow, along with a citrus grove that includes lemon, lime and orange trees. This, in combination with self-sufficient solar panels that power the whole island, make it ideal for those looking to self-isolate.
The Bahamas and the other Caribbean islands are not the only places we will see demand for private islands soar. Areas such as Sweden, Greece, Australia, Canada and even New York have amazing private islands on offer which would be of increased interest to HNWI who either work or live in those areas.
While private islands may come with a reputation of being an expensive acquisition that requires high-maintenance and constant care, the rise of Covid-19 has highlighted what an opportunity it can be for those looking to self-isolate at a moment’s notice. The shift of a private island from being just a holiday home to a permanent residence can make the expenses worth it.
George Damianos is President and Managing Broker of Damianos Sotheby's International Realty and Lyford Cay Sotheby's International Realty. With a career spanning more than four decades, George is one of the most trusted and longest-standing real estate agents in The Bahamas, and is credited with handling more high-profile sales than any other Realtor in the country. A graduate of The University of Miami School of Business Administration, George’s continuous success working with high-net-worth individuals has earned him passage into the “Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate Billionaire’s Club” which honors Realtors whose sales records total more than $1 billion over the course of their career. Whether it’s working with international celebrities, business moguls or professional athletes on the sale or purchase of private islands, luxury homes or resort properties, George relies on his detailed knowledge of government regulations and The Bahamas to provide smooth, discreet transactions for his clients. George spends his leisure time with his wife and friends on his Sportfish cruising the islands of The Bahamas or sailing around Old Fort Bay. In addition to being co-owner of Damianos Sotheby's International Realty and Lyford Cay Sotheby's International Realty, George is a Certified Residential Broker (CRB), a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) and a member of the America’s National Association of Realtors (NAR), The Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) and The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce. George is also a licensed appraiser, a government-appointed assessor.