Orkney has a good selection of houses to buy or rent, with part rent/ownership schemes also available. Property prices in the islands are generally lower than the Scottish average, while the quality of life here remains high.
Houses for sale are marketed by 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 threw at them, but 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, particularly during the quieter winter months and this can be a useful stop gap for people relocating to Orkney.
Orkney Housing Association Ltd (OHAL) was established in 1985 to complement the local council's housing stock. OHAL's pro-active approach to community housing led to the building of two houses for rent in the remote island of North Ronaldsay specifically to attract families with relevant skills to the island. This strategy paid off and led to the revitalisation of the school when new children started there.