Should you buy an island?

Considering the fun and motivational feedback from your end, here is another installment of the “Should you buy…..” series. This time I asked the question: Should you buy an island?

In case you are interested in the other posts in this series. we already looked at:

Should you buy an island?

First off, credits for this post go to HaltCatchFire, for initiating the idea and providing some interesting reading materials. Cheers mate, this one is for you! Keep on calling me evil for getting you to day dream 😉 Speaking of day dreaming, the picture below takes us back to our 9 week road trip! Lake Bled in Slovenia was amazing, very pretty area and great for hiking/cycling.

Should you buy an island?
Should you buy an island?

The search for an Island

Now sure where these people get there numbers from, but some suggest there are over 1.000.000 islands on this planet. This would include about every speck of land that is surrounded by water and actually sticks above it most of the time. That’s a lot of islands! Many will be government land, but there have to be several islands that are privately owned and up for sale. And indeed, this site shows a total of +620 islands for sale world wide. In Europe we have about 30 islands for sale at time of writing this post.

Prices seem to range from a whopping €414M (manmade in the UAE) to as little as €65.000 for a private small island in Stuart Lake, British Colombia, Canada.

Warm & Sunny?

So what are we looking for? Well, I prefer something warm with blue water where possible (you?). Also already having something developed (i.e. a house) would be nice. After a little digging, I found this one that I think is particularly interesting. For future reference, the original brochure can be downloaded here. The only “downside”, you can still walk to it, as it has a walking bridge connected to the mainland. Still classifies as an island, right?

For €627.000 you get a private island in Panama, with main house and guest house. You also get a custodian house on the mainland! No mentioning of staff included in the sale though 😉 Other added bonusses, not property tax for the next 20 years! Transfer tax (2%) is paid by the seller.

For reference purposes, the same amount of money will only get you a houseboat in Amsterdam…..

Should you buy an island?
Should you buy an island?

Sometimes cold but cheap?

The private island with house in Panama discussed above is pretty nice, but it’s still a lot of money! What can you get for the equivalent of a Dutch townhouse? This is what I found in Nova Scotia, Canada. An +8.000m² island with traditional log home, solar panels and stove. The perfect getaway for the summer season :-). All this for only about €221.000! Here is the brochure again for future reference.

That being said, the total purchase price is obviously higher due to transfer taxes (about 1.0-1.5%) and other fees. It looks like the total fees are about 3% of the sales price. However, you will also need to get to your island, so you need to buy a boat too! My guess is that you should be ready to go at a total price of €245.000-250.000 (including a decent boat). 

This looks pretty sweet to me, but the downside are the cold/rainy winters and the occasional hurricane/tropical storm that might knock on your front door. As a holiday home, this might work, but as a primary residency it could be rough at times. Albeit certainly not impossible! It also has the potential to be rented out, as it’s large & comfortable enough. But you will need a special type of people that know how to survive on an island without the “normal” utilities. You are really off the grid with this one, but with backup generator 🙂

Are normal people actually buying an Island?

Yes, there are actually some “normal” people that do this; buy an island. Not alone, no, with 10 of them. That was the way to make it really affordable for all. This was also a Canadian island, for just about $100.000. Their story is really cool, definitely worth a read. They now have made a main building and separate structures for all parties involved. Heck, him and his friends also bought more than just this island.

For most of us Europeans this it’s not really an option to buy a Canadian island, as flying there would be expensive and really not good from an environmental perspective. However, not all hope is lost, there is this island in Ireland. It’s undeveloped and “only” costs €200.000. For this you do get about 6 hectares of unspoiled land! Just not sure if I like the rain that much….. Property taxes are not too bad though.

Who is with me? If there 10-20 of you that can spare about €10.000- 20.000 each, just let me know 😉


P.s. we can also “build” an island, very modern and environmentally friendly!


  1. I have a friend who has an island. I’m not sure if he bought it or inherited it but it is 100% his. He’s also a billionaire so he can afford it. He’s also a wonderful person, nothing like the stereotypical super rich person. Very kind and incredibly well read and also very very busy.

  2. Wow, so much more info on the top of the few I provided 🙂 In general, buying an island is not a good idea probably. However, as you showed us in the previous post about the castles when you put time into planning and analyzing you can put financial sense into the opportunity. So, in the end, it all depends on if you can match the perfect island with the perfect purpose and make the most out of it 🙂

    1. Thanks for the input HCF, it was fun to investigate! But yeah, if you keep doing your homework you might run into something that actually makes financial sense. But it is almost always involved with some “work” from your end.

  3. How about going for the main question: should you buy a castle, located on an island, with a boat to get there?

    But yes, I have sometimes looked at those sites and dreamed as well. But neither an island, castle or boat are really practical in any way.

    The most practical, efficient (and probably even profitable) route would be to get a group together and when another Italian or Spanish village starts selling houses at 1 euro (because it is emptying out) jump on that ad just buy 2/3 of the town and convert it into moustache town.

  4. I’d buy Madeline Island off north Wisconsin, if I could! Beautiful place – at least, during the summer and fall.
    Fun to think about, but definitely not a frugal move, my friend!

    1. Not very frugal indeed, albeit that Canadian island is pretty good! Same price as an average house around here, rather have that island! But you would have to life there permanently to make it interesting 🙂

  5. Don’t forget to include water rising risks due to global warming. Could be you’re buying a “sinking ship”.

    1. Ah, that’s probably limited to about 1m in our lifetime. On that Canadian Island you are fine, the one in Panama might be interesting.
      That being said, it was one of the reasons why I didn’t use one island for sale in the Maldives for the example!

  6. There is an ongoing joke in my house about my retiring to an island one day, far away from commuting and conference calls and mother-in-laws and London winters.

    My kids reckon it would be the most boring place in the world: containing only a couple of palm trees, a hammock, and some coconuts.

    These could work though! Thanks for highlighting some alternative options.

    1. You are very welcome!
      Islands being boring? Perhaps, but it would be really cool to say that you own an island 🙂 Otherwise you got to buy a bigger island 😉

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