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Caribbean and North America most desirable locales for island purchases

Forget London’s prime real estate, an island getaway is now the ultimate trophy property for ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals, with new research revealing the Caribbean is one of the most desirable spot for such a purchase.

High profile island owners include Oracle founder Larry Ellison, who owns Lanai in Hawaii, while Virgin founder Richard Branson is known to entertain the rich and famous at Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands.

Bermuda, where a typical four-bedroom home sells for $4 million, was the top island destination for wealthy individuals, according to the Global Prime Sector, produced by Savills World Research and Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management.

But the nearby Caribbean dominated the top five with the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, and Antigua. The UK’s Channel Islands rounded out the list.

The Caribbean’s proximity to the US made it particularly popular, as well as its favourable business environment and pleasant climate. North America also offered many desirable locations, including the Hawaiian islands, the Florida Keys, Nantucket and Matha’s Vineyard.

Islands were judged on the volume of property holdings of UHNW individuals, transport links to mainland markets, the tax regime and real estate prices.

Rarity, the growing UHNW individual population and new transport infrastructure drove demand for these new trophy assets, the research found.

“A private island is the ultimate trophy asset. But financial return is not the primary motivation. These buyers are seeking the ultimate hideaway,” says Nicholas Candy, chief executive at Candy & Candy. “For them, the qualities remote and private are priceless.”

“The last 10 years were the decade of prime urban property investment; the next 10 years will see a growing appetite for island real estate investment and lifestyle,” says Yolande Barnes, a director at Savills World Research. “For the world’s wealthy, the pinnacle of achievement is to own what is exclusive and rare, so an island property goes hand-in-hand with a luxury apartment in a prime city.” 

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