Nation’s Largest Privately Held Island Goes on Online Auction
Bahamas Tops Post-COVID Destination Choices
It’s not often that a once in a lifetime opportunity presents itself twice, but that’s exactly what’s happened in the case of Little Ragged Island.
The remote isle in the southern Bahamas is back on the market and has what it takes to draw the attention of the world’s wealthiest seeking a private tropical haven for personal pleasure or development potential.
The isle with an exotic feel and easy access to multiple airports short boat rides away is the largest private island up for sale in The Bahamas, a 100,000-mile open ocean archipelago that has remained a coveted destination among those seeking luxurious, secluded and easily accessible getaways.
According to industry analysts, interest is expected to be high when the island hits the online auction site this week with bidding opening July 25 for four days.
While COVID took a significant toll on the tourism-dependent economy, pent-up demand in the wake of early pandemic lockdowns continues to drive a real estate boom that has swept across the country’s many islands and cays — famed for their turquoise waters and hailed by former NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly as the “most beautiful place from space.”
“Private islands in The Bahamas have long been regarded as a premier choice for anyone in search of the ultimate getaway, and St. Andrew’s or Little Ragged as it is commonly called is a fisherman’s and diver’s paradise,” said Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions Vice President of Business Development Danny Prell.
“Located in the Ragged Island chain, the 712-acre island, with its secluded coves and beaches is unlike anything on the market, away from it all, but only a two-hour flight from Miami. That lends a feeling of true remoteness, while maintaining advantages like easy access from key markets and an English-speaking local population.”
Bahamas Realty’s Stuart Halbert, the local real estate agent for the listing, said he believes development opportunities for Little Ragged are limited only to one’s imagination.
“This is the perfect blank canvas for a dream project such as a private residential settlement or a boutique resort with a large marina,” he said.
The award-winning agent said St. Andrew’s Island has great potential due to its topography, good elevations, beautiful beaches and superb fishing. Halbert also noted that the island could be perfect for an eco-resort, describing the natural wildlife as “abundant” and noting that it has excellent snorkeling and diving potential.
Little Ragged Island’s location, just a mile from the Duncan Town airport, means great accessibility for transporting supplies to the island and accommodating workers while developing the island.
Though Little Ragged Island was grabbed up in an auction last year, global market conditions have landed it back on the market, presenting those who missed out on the initial opportunity with a second chance. It’s not the first time Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions has sold the same property twice. There have been cases, executives said, when a highly desirable property changes hands three times, all by online auction, one of the fastest growing marketing tools for exclusive properties in the real estate world.
“One of the reasons we have enjoyed the growth we have and now the affiliation with the famed international auction master of art and estates, Sotheby’s, not to be confused with the real estate franchise by the same name, is that we are extremely selective in what we accept to represent,” explained Prell. Quality and fair market pricing are prerequisites, he noted. And where once auctions were considered a last-ditch effort, today they are anything but. In fact, many in the rarified upper air of high-end markets rely on auctions to bring the most interesting, objectively-priced unique properties to market knowing that the curated database includes the top 1% of the world’s wealthiest and their representatives or agents.
“Of every 20 properties or estates offered to the online auction firm, Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions turns down 18,” Prell says.
“The 10% of properties we do take must have that special something that makes it Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions quality,” “Only then will one of our digital marketing and sales teams begin the process of preparing for the sale, always aligning with a local agent, working the database, understanding who the offering and the price point will appeal to, qualifying them for the bidding process which requires a deposit to participate and then watching the excitement unfold online.”
Once up on the Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions website, the sale of a property takes on a life of its own with a clock ticking and prices climbing. Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions has successfully auctioned off numerous properties in The Bahamas, while maintaining its commitment to working with Bahamian agents for each transaction. Little Ragged Island is selling without reserve.
To register or follow the auction, click on www.casothebys.com/auctions/r1-st-andrews-little-ragged-island-bahamas.