For sale: tropical islands at recession-friendly prices

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Dreaming of a tropical paradise to call your own? Several Australian islands off the Great Barrier Reef are on sale, and thanks to the global recession, they’re cheaper than they used to be.

Global real estate agency Coldwell Banker’s Capricorn Coast branch is offering 9 islands, some with luxury mansions and other amenities, around the Great Barrier Reef with prices starting at A$1.3 million ($962,000) and up to A$90 million ($67 million).

One island on offer, Long Island, has seen its A$6.5 million price tag slashed by 42 percent. Others are being advertised for almost half what they cost about a year ago.

“Islands have certainly have come down in price significantly and that’s a reflection of the global economy,” principal realtor Richard Vanhoff told Reuters.

“Seller’s are realists, if they’ve made the decision to sell, they are coming in line with the market trend and market value.”

Some of the islands Coldwell Banker has on their website include Turtle Island, which Vanhoff said actress Julia Robert had wanted to buy eight years ago but lost out to an Australian businessman.

“The island is up for sale again and all the toys go with the property -- there are motorbikes, tractors, motor vehicles and some furniture,” Vanhoff said.

“The owners were asking A$6.5 million for that and now they are ready to take any reasonable offer, so that’s a good example of vendors keen to sell.”

There is also Temple Island, Avoid Island, Marble Island and the newly listed Hinchinbrook island, where 2008’s children’s movie “Nim’s Island” was filmed.

Australia’s Queesland state, where the Great Barrier Reef is located, has used another tropical island called Hamilton as the base of a hugely successful advertising campaign to lure tourists, offering them the chance to become island taker and have the “Best Job in the World.”

Reporting by Pauline Askin, Editing by Miral Fahmy