As the dust slowly settles from the COVID fallout of 2020, many of us are adjusting to a normal.
Vaccines are now widely available and key to the easing of travel restrictions globally. And while the world is eager to leave 2020 behind, its citizens remain cautious with a heightened sense of safety – many still placing a premium on distancing and privacy.
With safety, isolation, and privacy all still a part of our social vocabularies, secluded travel, and remote living have been important emerging trends. This, in part, explains the recent boom in the interest in private islands – both for travel and living.
Private islands in the Caribbean countries and territories such as Gladden Island in Belize and Parrot Caye in the Turks and Caicos Islands are coveted by travelers and potential residents who treasure adventure and seclusion.
The low incidence of COVID in isolated Caribbean locales is not the only reason for the interest in private islands in the region. The pandemic may have triggered the initial interest in private islands. Still, it’s not the reason for the sustained interest travelers may go to these private islands seeking peace and quiet. Still, many are returning and even remaining because of the stunning beauty of the surroundings.
Plentiful in wildlife, turquoise waters, mangrove-shaded flats, and barrier reefs, private islands in Belize and other Caribbean destinations offer staggering natural beauty within striking distance of the U.S. and Canada. These two countries account for the most recent interest in private islands in the area.
Buyers were already scooping up private islands in warm climates in 2020, but demand is expected to be even higher in 2021 as travel restrictions are eased. With fears of inflation and sociopolitical unrest in the U.S. and across the globe, investors are not only looking for off-shore opportunities to diversify their portfolios, but they’re looking to assets that are insulated from inflation – tangible assets like real estate with prices that move in the same direction as inflation.
Many investors looking to scoop up a private island ask themselves why not invest in something that cash flows but also offers a potential safe haven from unrest in their home countries?
Perhaps this explains why interest in private islands that can be used part-time for personal purposes and part-time for commercial gain quickly gains steam. Private islands come in all shapes and sizes, with no right way for investing in them.
Here are a couple of options, along with suggestions.
Buy An Island. Chris Krolow is the CEO of Ontario real-estate company Private Islands Inc., which rents and sells more than 800 islands in its inventory. Krolow also owns and rents out his own private island, Gladden, in Belize’s Barrier Reef. Krolow says that while Gladden was popular before COVID, it gained even more traction post-COVID.
Except for the time carved out for Krolow’s personal use, the island is fully booked for the rest of this year. If you’re going to own your own private island for personal use and renting, make sure it’s close to amenities and easy to get to, like Gladden, which is a hop skip and jump from a major airport and transportation hubs in Belize.
Joint Ownership. Whether through a partnership or a private investment fund, joint ownership in a private island can offer the opportunity to live, vacation, and invest along with others with similar interests and investment objectives.
Joint ownership of a small island can be subdivided while limiting the number of residents to maintain the distance and privacy that visitors and residents alike covet. Joint ownership in a cash-flowing asset with carve-outs for personal use offers the best of both worlds.
Interest in private islands as part of the new normal is not likely to go away soon. COVID was only a catalyst in the heightened interest in private islands. The new premium on seclusion and privacy regarding both travel and living seems to be permanent.
With the threat of potential social unrest and future pandemics now on many individuals’ minds, these same individuals would love a warm-weather island getaway to escape it all.
Why not make money at the same time?
That’s why private islands in Caribbean locales like Belize that are just a short flight away from several major American airports make sense for potential residents and investors.