Numerous billionaire families have chosen island ownership including Sir Richard Branson who lives full time at Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands. Other families who use their private islands as vacation getaways include Larry Page who owns Eutasia Island, Larry Ellison who owns Lanai in Hawaii, John Mallone who owns Sampson Cay in Exuma Bahamas and actor Leonardo Di Caprio who owns Blackadore Caye Island. However, none of these islands have their own private jet runway that can accommodate large planes, affording their owner the convenience of landing directly on their own island without having to transfer to a smaller prop plane or boat. Even large islands with 10,000 residents and large hotels with significant tourism such as St Barts lack their own private jet runway and have small airports that can only accommodate a small turbo prop plane. Thus, Blue Island has one of the most unique assets in island ownership as it is the only private island for sale with a 5,700 foot long jet runway large enough to land a jumbo jet flying direct from Europe or North America. Customs can be cleared on Blue Island and there is no need for transfers which is an ultimate luxury. The US based family who owns the island was concerned with security and provided the family a true off the grid getaway home safe from virus pandemics, social unrest or wars.
The Bahamas is politically stable and run under British law with no income, capital gains, capital transfer, or estate tax so is an ideal jurisdiction for ultra high net worth individuals which also offers balmy 80 degree year round beach weather. Blue Island is a 700-acre island located in the Exuma Cays about 147 miles southwest of Nassau, offering safety and seclusion for those looking to trade congested urban environments for wide open spaces, tropical mango & banana trees, fresh air and miles of powdery white sand beaches and privacy with a white six bedroom residence on the hilltop 90 feet above sea level. The airstrip has become more valuable as the Bahamas government will not issue any new licenses for private airstrips and has not issued any in the past 50 years.
“While private islands have always been a significant symbol of wealth and a bucket list item among high-net-worth individuals, they are even more in demand these days with all that is going on in the world,” said Steve Donovan, the property manager from Sotheby’s currently marketing Blue Island. “These locations offer the ultimate in social distancing, safety and seclusion.” Travel to Blue Island is easy and discrete from the U.S or Europe via a private jet and with customs and immigration available on island making the entry process seamless.
Acquisitions of private islands are typically for leisure rather than investment purposes so the easier the island is to access the more appealing it is. While making a return on their investment Is not top of mind for those who purchase private islands, buyers hope to at least recover their original investment. On average, monthly maintenance costs for private Islands depend on the amount and type of use–whether utilized as a private family sanctuary or as a rental property, for instance. The trend for many billionaire families including Sir Richard Branson and other island owners is to rent the island to others for additional income or to host retreats, parties and other events there during the year. Families costs to maintain the island typically start at about $200,000 and up depending on whether somebody Is living there nine months out of the year versus only visiting occasionally.
Purchasers of private islands are also eligible for Permanent Residency status in The Bahamas, making the purchase of these properties even more appealing for those who can work or learn remotely. Permanent residency allows the holder to pass freely through immigration and there are no limits on length of stay. People with this status are for all intents and purposes treated like Bahamians, except for the right to vote.