The Hawaiian island of Kauai’s newest landowner is Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook CEO bought a small fraction of the archipelago’s fourth-largest island, snapping up 700 acres of the island’s 552 square miles. Zuckerberg reportedly spent more than $100 million for his share of the island, which will become his personal retreat.
Private islands are a relatively common place for billionaires and celebrities to park cash, especially if they’re American. There’s even a helpful guide (pdf) for those in the market. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison owns 98% of another Hawaiian island, Lanaii, which he bought for $300 million and is trying to transform it into a high-end, environmentally sustainable resort. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen owned 292-acre Allan Island off the US’s Washington state coast until Dec. 2013, when he sold it for $8 million.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t cost as much as you might think to buy land surrounded by water. Islands themselves can cost anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars to $200 million, according to the guide from Private Islands inc. Developing them into something hospitable and keeping them up is what soaks up serious cash.