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Resort Town: British Virgin Islands

The Katitche Point Greathouse

Located in the eastern Caribbean Sea, the British Virgin Islands, or BVI, comprises four main islands—Virgin Gorda, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada—and more than 30 smaller islands and cays. Tortola and Virgin Gorda are the British territory’s most popular islands for vacation-home owners, who enjoy a relatively stable market in a spectacular and increasingly coveted locale.

Tortola, which at 12 miles long is the largest of the British Virgin Islands, is home to roughly 23,000 residents and to the territory’s capital, Road Town. The island offers better infrastructure—with a business district and a variety of shops, restaurants, and nightclubs—than Virgin Gorda does, but the smaller island (population 3,000) is gaining favor with buyers for its seclusion and its exclusive resort communities that include Oil Nut Bay. “Virgin Gorda has escalated investment and interest significantly,” says Chris Smith, an agent with Coldwell Banker Real Estate, BVI. “The average sale price in Virgin Gorda is now more than 40 percent higher than the prices being achieved in Tortola.”

Smith cautions, however, that the numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. Even though the BVI market is on the rise, it remains minuscule, with only about 15 to 20 homes sold per year. “One deal can skew the numbers significantly,” Smith says. “And values and sale prices vary to an extreme degree depending on specific location.”

In general, regardless of the island, the real estate in the region tends to be less volatile than in other Caribbean regions, according to Smith. “Overall, the BVI real estate market is pretty steady and not prone to the extreme peaks and troughs of other markets,” he says. “It’s not particularly liquid, perhaps—but it’s not overly risky either.”

Those in the market for a vacation home in the BVI will discover a range of possibilities, from stand-alone beach compounds to homesites at a private-island resort. Following are a few of the BVI’s best options.

Photo by Don Riddle
Photo by Bruce Buck