Like anywhere else in the UK, Orkney has houses to buy, rent or have a part buy/part rent ownership deal. The difference is that houses in Orkney are generally lower in price than the Scottish average while the quality of life here is high.
Houses for sale are marketed by the local solicitors who advertise them through their offices in Kirkwall and Stromness, online, through property websites and in the local press. There are houses to suit all tastes and budgets from grand town residences to large country properties with land and outbuildings. Small and sturdy stone built dwellings were built by Orcadians of the past to withstand whatever the weather throws at them. And modern bungalows and Scandinavian-style wooden chalets will keep out the elements too. Out in the isles you may find a ruined building to buy as a Grand Designs style project and there are plots of land for sale with planning consent for building. Limited grants or support may be available for the renovation of older buildings and for projects that use renewable and sustainable energy.
There are also often businesses such as hotels and retail units for sale with living accommodation.
Private landlords rent out furnished and unfurnished properties as long lets. There are always more places available for winter lets too as luxury holiday accommodation furnished to a high standard is let for the several months of winter. This can be a useful stop gap for people relocating to Orkney.
Orkney Islands Council has a stock of council housing and is building more homes for council tenants. Orkney Housing Association Ltd (OHAL) was established in 1985 to complement the council’s housing stock. OHAL is a non profit making charitable organisation with many of its shareholders being tenants. It offers rented and shared ownership affordable accommodation. OHAL built two houses for rent in North Ronaldsay to attract families with children to the island. This is in direct contrast to housing associations’ normal strategy, to build the houses according to the needs of the people in the area. The strategy paid off with two families with children relocating from outwith Orkney, which in turn has helped to revitalise the local school.