Housing in Orkney

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.

An aerial view of Kirkwall's houses and buildings

An aerial view of Kirkwall's houses and buildings

A new home built in the east mainland town of St Mary's

A new home built in the east mainland town of St Mary's

New local authority housing in Stromness

New local authority housing in Stromness

New housing available in the centre of Kirkwall

New housing available in the centre of Kirkwall

New Council housing in Holm

New Council housing in Holm

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 and on street apartments 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. In recent years hundreds of homes have been built in Orkney through the local authority building programme, and a series of private developments and sites have also been available.

If you're interested in investigating the current housing market in Orkney, have a look at our Property page to see what is available.