Luxury Real Estate: One mile in length, this private island features lush vegetation, fauna, sandy protected shoals, spectacular reefs, salt ponds, jasper outcrop, sandy beaches, tennis courts, new boat dock, rustic residence with stone fireplace, ruins of a 1777 cotton plantation and two shipwrecks off the northeast point.
According to Farhad Vladi, one of the world's pre-eminent island brokers, there are only 100 to 120 "desirable" islands for sale at any given time, ranging in price from $30,000 to $30 million. A desirable island is anywhere from five to 1,000 acres in size, has an elevation of at least 15 feet, and provides a harbor and several anchorage areas. It should also have a choice of beaches so that one is always protected from the wind. And the more existing infrastructure--docks, landing ramps, roads, housing--the better.
"Being on an island is pharmacy for the soul," says Vladi. His customer database reads like a who's who, including the former Shah of Iran (who once bought a dozen islands at one meeting), Marlon Brando, Brooke Shields and Tony Curtis. He currently has 20 employees in two offices located in Germany and Canada, and prices start at a mere $16,000 for a few rocky hectares off Scotland, to millions for hideaways in the Caribbean and the South Pacific. Vladi got hooked on the business of selling islands 30 years ago when working as a banker. Liking the idea of owning an island, he soon found out that most were beyond his price range. Instead, he sent pictures of the island and passed them on to wealthy clients and offered to arrange the sale. The business became so popular, and profitable, that he now buys and sells islands full time.
Buying islands varies from country to country. The US Virgin Islands discourage foreign buyers by charging high taxes, while Tahiti requires a significant investment in the local economy, such as a hotel or business. Most Asian countries limit foreign ownership to 50 percent, with Malaysia and the Philippines forbidding ownership of islands completely. Even liberal New Zealand only allowed foreigners to buy its islands in 1994.
To read and see a list of the hundreds of islands available for rent or purchase check
Vladi Private Islands.
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