More good news this week, in addition to already record-low mortgage rates falling again and home values across the country rising overall: there’s never been a better time to buy that private island you’ve always dreamed of owning

Seriously. It’s now a buyer’s market

Demand has fallen and inventory has spiked (up more than 30% since the beginning of the worldwide recession several years ago), resulting in prices that are down as much as 80 percent and creating a market of over 600 islands that are now on sale

Even better news is this: you don’t even have to be a millionaire to buy your island. In fact, dozens of islands around the world are in the price range of – or barely above – the current median price of a home in the United States

Yes, you can get your own island for under $200,000 – and there are even some for under $50,000, although at that price, your island might not come with sandy beaches and a cozy beach villa

According to brokers and private island anaylysts, demand is still high for high-quality islands, defined as being close to major population areas and having good beaches and houses. However, prices are dropping for the larger, more undeveloped, more remote islands. Contributing factors, in addition to the stagnant world economy, include volatile politics in those regions, lack of infrastructure (such as hospitals or running water), and unfriendly climate or weather patterns

Another reason is the realization by many island owners that once was the ultimate status symbol really isn’t so glamorous. Local red tape, including costly permits that take months to acquire just to build a house or small building, just aren’t so charming. Furthermore, the logistics of actually visiting some of the more remote of the islands – such as the ones in the South Pacific – cause major headaches, even for the super wealthy with their private planes. Also, many of those same super-wealthy people just don’t have time to visit

Some of the bargain buys include Puangiangi Island, a 155-acre rock jutting from the sea just off the coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Priced originally at nearly $4 million, it was recently sold for under $800,000. Another small island, Buanavista Island in Panama and with over 200 meters of beaches, is currently for sale at $750,000 after being originally priced at $3 million

A company specializing in private island property sales – Private Islands, Inc. – has nearly 150 listings at under $500,000 and even several for under $100,000. In fact, it has one listed – off the Panama coast – for the price of a mid-range SUV. For $30,000, a buyer gets ¾ of an acre and plenty of toucans and parrots, but no house

There are, of course, islands that are much more expensive, but even they come with huge discounts. One such example is Leaf Cay, Bahamas. A pristine island with three separate beaches, it also has deep-water docks and access to a golf course close by. It was on the market for $24 million, but can now be had for an unheard-of price of $7 million

If you’re not really in the market to buy an island, though, don’t even think of trying to get an exclusive showing so you can brag that you vetted an island. Chances are you’ll be vetted more rigorously and won’t even be granted a showing if you’re not serious. Prospective buyers are carefully screened because showing an island is expensive and time-consuming

However, if you are serious, visit http://www.privateislandsinc.com/ or any other private island property company and check out their listings.