Two Caribbean islands that belonged to financier Jeffrey Epstein hit the market for $125 million last week, raising eyebrows in the small community of private island real estate brokers.

“My opinion is that this is overpriced, by far,” says Farhad Vladi, owner of the broker Vladi Private Islands. “You have to do comparable sales data, and if you look at other islands which have sold, there’s no data that justifies $125 million.”

The U.S. Virgin Islands properties are being sold by the late Epstein’s estate; after he was accused of sexually abusing and trafficking young women and underage girls on the properties, Little St. James—including his mansion and mysterious blue-and-white-striped hilltop temple—gained the local sobriquet “Pedophile Island.” The proceeds will go toward resolving outstanding lawsuits against the estate and the regular costs of its operations, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the listing.

That smaller, 72-acre island was purchased by Epstein in 1998 for $7.95 million. The larger island, Great St. James, covers more than 161 acres and is largely undeveloped. Epstein bought it in 2016 for $22.5 million.

“Take both islands together, his acquisition costs were approximately $30.5 million,” Vladi says. “Let’s say he did something here or there, so there’s $35 million into it. If you take the two islands together and ask $70 million, that might be possible.”

Vladi isn’t alone in his skepticism.

“Great St. James is lovely,” says Edward Childs, a director at the real estate company Smiths Gore, who specializes in the Virgin Islands. “But it sold not many years ago for $22.5 million, and it was on the market for quite a long time.” It’s difficult, he continues, to explain “how that could suddenly become $75 million—I’d struggle with that a little bit.”

And that doesn’t include the specter of Epstein himself, which Vladi says could do serious damage to the islands’s valuation. “I would never want to go there with my wife and family and enjoy it,” he says. “It’s full of negative criminal energy, and it’s very difficult to sell.”

Indeed, the first step in accurately valuing the islands might be to consider how other Epstein properties have fared. A New York town house he once owned was initially priced at $88 million and sold for $51 million, while his Palm Beach house, initially listed at $21.95 million, sold for $18.5 million.

“The next purchaser is always going to have a little bit of an issue that these are associated with Jeffrey Epstein,” Childs says. “It might take a purchaser beyond that to make it go away.”

But a broker at one of the three firms marketing Epstein’s islands says the price is justified. “The sellers have done their due diligence,” says Nick Bailey, a directing broker at Christie’s International Real Estate: the Saints. “Based on what has been sold in the past 10 years, and what’s on the market for sale, they’ve determined this is an accurate price.”

And would the seller be willing to sell each island individually? “Their preference would be to sell both islands together as a package,” Bailey says.

How To Price An Island
When it comes to pricing islands, “there are a lot of different factors that come into play,” says Gavin Christie, a broker at Corcoran CA Christie Bahamas. First, he says, “is it in a highly desirable location?” In the Bahamas that would be in the central Exuma Cays; in the U.S. Virgin Islands, it’s really whatever’s available, because so little comes onto the market.

Islands that are private and also close to a larger body of land—filled with shops and restaurants—are obviously the goal, Christie continues. “And then there are other things: Is there a runway, is there a helipad, is there deep-water access? Because many of the ultrawealthy have megayachts.” Other pluses that affect the price, he says, are white-sand beaches and rolling hills.

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