Auckland homes are so expensive it might be possible to pick up a small private island for less. Here's one Grey Lynn villa - and five private islands you could own instead.

Would you rather live in Auckland or on your own private island?

The Herald asked that question in 2013 and now a Grey Lynn villa featured in the story as being worth more than a private island in upstate New York is back for sale.

Artist Belinda Wilson and husband Lester that year paid $1.45 million for the historic Grey Lynn villa at 115 Crummer Rd.

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The Herald noted the tired old villa with its 1970s carpets cost about $200,000 more than the price of New York state's Little Ironside Island where buyers would also get a waterfront house, two cottages and a pool for their cash.

Though the article made Wilson laugh, there was never any question of throwing it all away for life on an island - Auckland was her home.

She thought Grey Lynn was a great suburb and the 1908-built house a wonderful buy.

"So we weathered the ridicule and got on with bringing the old girl back to life," Wilson said.

The restored villa now. Photo / Supplied
The restored villa now. Photo / Supplied

The villa has since undergone a major restoration and extension.

The three-bedroom home now covers 270sq m, up from 151sq m, and includes a downstairs studio.

The historic villa in 2013 when it sold for $1.455 million or more than double its council valuation of $980,000. Photo / Supplied
The historic villa in 2013 when it sold for $1.455 million or more than double its council valuation of $980,000. Photo / Supplied

Wilson hasn't yet put the home on the market or set a sale price, but council valued it at $2.2m in 2017.

The question is, will she and husband Lester finally buy an island once they sell?

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Only if it is off the coast of Spain, she said with a laugh.

The couple plan to buy a smaller home in Auckland so they can spend more time living in Spain with Wilson's sister-in-law.

"It's time to go and play," she said.

New York's Little Ironsides might no longer be on the market, but here are five private islands now selling for $2.2m or less.

Ninth Island in the Bass Strait is nestled on the north side of Tasmania. Photo / Supplied
Ninth Island in the Bass Strait is nestled on the north side of Tasmania. Photo / Supplied

1.
Price: $2.28 million
Ninth Island, Bass Strait, Australia

For a touch over $2.2m, you can get your own 1.3km long island in Bass Strait between Melbourne and Tasmania.

There are an estimated 5000 islands around Tasmania, and the 16-hectare Ninth Island is one of only nine in private hands, its selling agents said.

As a "paradise" for penguins, dolphins, seals and native birds, there is no development on the island, but should you build, you will likely gain millions in value overnight, the agents said.

That's because Waterhouse Island, next door, recently sold for $8.38m.

Watch Island, Clayton,New York, includes a beautiful Victorian mansion. Photo / Supplied
Watch Island, Clayton,New York, includes a beautiful Victorian mansion. Photo / Supplied

2.
Price: $2.12 million
Watch Island, New York, United States

If building from the ground up is not your thing, the huge Victorian-era mansion on Watch Island in the St Lawrence river in upstate New York could be more your style.

The antique-filled, 10-bedroom home sits on 1.3 acres and boasts docking for multiple boats as well as a fireplace and dining room with 12 windows to catch the ever-changing river and sunset views.

Indigo Point British Virgin Islands will need some rebuilding after Hurricane Irma swept through in 2017. Photo / Supplied
Indigo Point British Virgin Islands will need some rebuilding after Hurricane Irma swept through in 2017. Photo / Supplied

3.
Price: $1.48 million
Indigo Point, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean

You don't get an entire island when you buy Indigo Point, but for $700,000 less than Ninth Island, you do get a resort facility with stunning views over Great Camanoe Island.

The residence comes with landscaped gardens, access to tennis courts, a marina and two secluded beaches. But there is a catch - it was hit by Hurricane Irma in 2017 and needs to be rebuilt.

Marakorako Island in French Polynesia, is a resort ready for new owners. Photo / Supplied
Marakorako Island in French Polynesia, is a resort ready for new owners. Photo / Supplied

4.
Price: $1.441 million
Marakorako Island, French Polynesia, South Pacific

If you want your own slice of palm-fringed South Pacific paradise, then the 8.32 acre Marakorako Island is up for grabs with basic hotel facilities, bungalows, running water and electricity.

But while surrounded by white sand and aqua blue waters, the island is remote, being 500km northeast of Tahiti.

Kalgin Island in Alaska, USA, has great views of nearby Redoubt volcano. Photo / Supplied
Kalgin Island in Alaska, USA, has great views of nearby Redoubt volcano. Photo / Supplied

5.
Price: $834,567
Kalgin Island, Alaska, United States

For a fraction of $2.2m, you can escape into the Alaskan wilderness and pick up Kalgin Island with its two-storey log cabin and access to a "critical wildlife" reserve packed with moose, bald eagles, beavers, seals and seabirds.

The island sale even comes with a shotgun and four-wheel vehicle thrown in.