Private islands for sale in Queensland go cheap, but lifestyle has its challenges

Eager buyers trying to get a foot on the property ladder could grab a tropical island for the price of a one-bedroom Sydney apartment, according to a real estate agent.

Private islands are no longer just a privilege for billionaires like Richard Branson, as shoppers look beyond the mainland for more bang for their buck.

“There is greater interest,” said Richard Vanhoff, a real estate agent specializing in the islands.

“With southern states pricing they are paying a lot of money for houses and they still don’t get the waterfront.

Temple Island has a four bedroom house and an airstrip.(Provided)

Around Australia, private islands have been purchased over the past 12 months for as little as $ 320,000.

Queenslander Craig Becky was on the hunt for investment property last year when he found an offer too good to pass up.

“I actually saw it on a morning TV show and it was touted as Australia’s cheapest island,” he said.

“I was like, ‘Oh, this is in my price range.’

“Life is short.”

A man in a red shirt and black hat sits on a chair with a beer in his hand, facing a beach.
Craig Becky says he never dreamed of owning an island, but he’s certainly adjusting to his new lifestyle.(Provided)

“Everything is on time for the island”

Mr. Becky is now the proud owner of Worthington Island off Gladstone, which he purchased for “well below” the asking price of $ 385,000.

The 27-hectare island has an off-grid beach hut and a private airstrip.

“It’s not what everyone thinks of – palm trees and white sand,” Becky said.

“It’s more mangroves and crabs and fishing. It’s like a big block of bush with a hut on it.

“It’s really relaxing… grab a fish, take a nap, go for a walk.

A man stands with a stick at the edge of a beach, gazing into the fog.
Craig Becky says he loves his native island.(Provided)

But the lifestyle isn’t without its challenges – Mr. Becky doesn’t get much in return for his fares, no one picks up the weekly trash, and access to the island is at the mercy of the tides.

But for this island owner, the pros far outweigh the cons.

“Everything is on island time,” he said.

A tropical island seen from above.
Agent Richard Vanhoff says there has been significant interest in Poole Island, which is on the market for $ 1 million.(Provided)

A wise investment?

Selling islands has been in line with buying habits since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).

“What we are seeing is that a lot of people want to buy regional properties because of the lifestyle,” said REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella.

But she said it was difficult to determine whether the obsession with space would continue when things returned to normal.

“Before you invest, I think you really need to think about the practicalities,” Ms. Mercorella said.

“It’s not something you would buy for the purpose of returning it – you would want to buy it with the goal of perhaps holding it for the longer term.”

A drone shot of a tropical island.
Marble Island is sold for $ 15.75 million.(Provided)

What’s on the market?

Judging by the ads available, an island lifestyle can be achieved for any cost.

Poole Island in the Whitsundays has a price tag of $ 1 million, while Temple Island off Mackay is on the market for $ 1.7 million.

Or, if you’ve got a spare $ 15 million, maybe Marble Island, off the central Queensland coast, is more to your liking.

Mr Vanhoff said long lockdowns in southern states over the past two years have made the freedom to live on an island extremely attractive.

“People are sitting in the restricted areas, thinking about life and their future,” he said.

“I guess the islands come to mind – they say, ‘Oh, wouldn’t we love to do that, that would be great, we wouldn’t have to put up with that. “

“They will call me and get me all the information and be all excited because their seer told them they would win and they would not win.

“But it’s a lot of fun.”

Ms Mercorella said that while private islands were marketed more regularly, their sale remained unusual.

“It’s probably a fantasy that a lot of us have,” she said.

“But I think for the majority of us practicality and reality probably set in and prevent us from making the choice.”

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