How the Pandemic Affected Island Purchase and Rent

How the Pandemic Affected Island Purchase and Rent

The spread of Covid-19 has brought significant changes in the field of global tourism. Numerous restrictions, closed borders and new safety requirements are hampering the travelling plans of most people. Caring for one’s health and the well-being of the family has come to the fore. It can be assumed that this situation has increased interest in island purchases because it is where you can isolate yourself from people and relax to the fullest. In the article, we will find out whether this is really the case.

Attention to private islands during the quarantine

Tourism experts say that since the beginning of the quarantine, the audience is actually more interested in private islands. According to The New York Times, island brokers are extremely busy answering the calls and messages about island maintenance almost 24/7.

Chris Krolow, CEO of Private Islands Inc., also notes the growing excitement about the islands. The magazine under the same name for the period spring-summer of 2020 contains the following opinion of the latter:

“I’ve received a huge increase in island inquiries of all types, because all over the world, people are dreaming of finding their own sanctuary — a protected place with ample room to host their family and friends.”

Chris Krolow

As for the users looking for island options available for rent or purchase online, the situation has also changed to a certain extent compared to last year. If you follow the query “buy island”, you will notice a substantial decline in searches at the beginning of quarantine and a sharp increase in interest after the first months of the pandemic.

Buy island query, 2019-2020
Buy island query, 2019-2020

The number of “rent island” queries has also increased, although its seasonal character remained the same.

Rent island query, 2019-2020
Rent island query, 2019-2020

The changes are not only quantitative but also qualitative

Yes, not only the number of those interested in private islands has changed, but also the buying/renting priorities. This is largely due to the pandemic and the desire of people to protect themselves and their families from health problems.

  • Firstly, buyers began to be much more loyal and less demanding of the island location. For instance, the British buyers used to dream of the Greek islands, but now they are quite satisfied with Seychelles. Americans and Canadians, who have always been interested in the islands of the South Pacific, now prefer the near shores of the Bahamas, Belize and Panama.
  • Secondly, the motives for buying and renting luxury islands have changed greatly. Buyers are now more concerned about their family’s health rather than indulging their egos.
  • Thirdly, potential buyers are mostly looking for luxury islands with real estate that is already prepared for a comfortable and safe life.

Jack Ezon, the founder of the New York luxury travel advisory Embark Beyond Travel, also confirms this situation.

“Our clients are telling us that they want to feel safe and comfortable and go somewhere where they can reconnect with family and friends. A private island is what comes to mind first”.

Jack Ezon

Pandemic-caused challenges

However, despite a significant increase in interest in private islands, there are not many real buyers. For example, Krolow notes that although he receives about 150 requests for luxury islands a day, his company has not closed a single deal since the pandemic began. This situation is quite natural, given the quarantine conditions and customer requests.

Quarantine regulations provide for closing borders and airports as well as more complicated international traffic for better control of the pandemic’s spread. For example, during the entire pandemic period, there were only a few weeks when you could fly out of the Caribbean. This makes concluding sales deals very difficult, as buyers often simply cannot explore the proposed island.

Given the financial investment, people want to experience the islands live. Right now, we’re only doing virtual showings”.

Nick Damianos, a broker with Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty.

In addition, even if you can arrive in a certain area, there are often other restrictions causing delays for the buyers and the purchase. For example, it is known that the Bahamas will be reopened to tourists from 1 December, but the visitors will be required to install applications on their phones and follow the quarantine orders for another two weeks. Sometimes a buyer just can’t afford to waste so much time quarantining.

Another problem is the inflated expectations of buyers. People want to find an island with ready-to-settle real estate. Or, they ask questions about the rapid development of the island. However, construction on private islands takes much more time than on the mainland, so this rush, unfortunately, does not speed up the process, but only calls into question the purchase feasibility.

Find Islands during the pandemic

For our team, the quarantine period marked the launch of the new projects. We are currently developing the necessary functionality for the island catalog to provide convenient listings management, statistics tracking and communication with potential buyers. In the meantime, we offer you to subscribe to Find Islands and be the first to get notified of all our updates.