In Brief

How to buy a private island for the price of a London flat

Agents say enquiries from would-be island owners have tripled during Covid pandemic

The coronavirus lockdown has left many homeowners longing for a change of scenery - but some buyers are thinking bigger than others for their next move.

According to agents, demand for private islands is booming as increasing numbers of Britons seek solitude and safety during the pandemic. Farhad Vladi, founder of Vladi Private Islands, says that enquiries have tripled since Covid-19 hit compared with the same period in 2019.

And as The Telegraph notes, “you don't need to be a billionaire, or even a millionaire”, to get in on the action.

While “the private island market in Britain and Ireland is one of serious quirks”, says the newspaper, “islands in Scotland can be snapped up for a fraction of the price of a one-bedroom London flat”.

Cameron Ewer of Savills estate agents told The Telegraph that “there are some very, very small islands that people buy because they just want to say ‘I own an island’”.

Savills recently sold the 14-acre Creinch Island in Loch Lomond for just £90,000. But living on the island may prove tricky for the new owner. Creinch has no running water or electricity, although on the plus side, the island is “covered in wood anemones and wild garlic”, The Telegraph says.

There are also plenty of options for those looking to splash a little more cash. An island off the coast of Ireland was sold for more than $6.3m (£5m) earlier this month, “with the anonymous buyer not even visiting the location in person before going through with the purchase”, CNN reports.

Located to the southwest of the Irish mainland, Horse Island covers 157 acres that includes “three beaches, seven houses and natural wildlife”, the broadcaster adds.

The island haven proved so enticing that the unnamed European buyer “relied on video footage to view” the site, and conducted most of the negotiations via WhatsApp, says The Guardian.

“The owner fell in love with the scenery,” said Thomas Balashev, chief executive of Montague Real Estate, which helped broker the deal. “The island will be used as a tranquil retreat – a place to enjoy the natural beauty and calm the landscape affords.”

Some visionaries are thinking even bigger, however.

With land borders worldwide closed during the pandemic, shipbuilding giant Ferretti Group is producing “portable private islands”, Forbes says.

 “Describing its superyachts as ‘private islands’ might seem far-fetched, but it makes a lot of sense,” according to the news site.

“The interior is essentially a luxury resort… while outside, sun decks supplement beaches and wherever you roam, you’re always by the sea.”

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