Affordable Island Homes: Beach and sun for less than $1 million

Dreaming of sunbathing on a tropical island far from snow and slush? You aren't alone. Across the U.S. and much of Europe, this has been one of the coldest, dreariest winters on record. For many, the economy remains as bleak as the weather. Still, it seems you needn't be a bailed-out banker to afford an island home of your own.

That's because the housing bust hit the Caribbean and Hawaii as hard as it did elsewhere. Prices for homes that had been purchased as retirement or rental properties plummeted when mortgages reset and the global economy froze up. This means that whether you're looking for a second home or a full-time residence, there are plenty of deals out there on such islands as St. Maarten, Eleuthera, and St. Croix.

Businessweek.com spotted 25 affordable island homes, many at waterside or at least with a pool, at prices ranging from $275,000 to $799,000. Sure, that's more than the median vacation home price, which figures from the National Association of Realtors place at $169,000. But it's far less than the average price of a two-bedroom Manhattan apartment: about $1.4 million in 2010, according to data from Miller Samuel. And it provides better views and a laid-back vibe. Don't expect these deals to last long. Even this housing market will warm up at some point.

Click here to see island homes priced below $1 million.
 
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