Barra is the southern-most Outer Hebridean island apart from Vatersay, which it is connected to by a causeway. A predominantly Gaelic speaking island, Barra has a population of 1,174 according to the 2011 census, a 9% rise since 2001. The predominant faith on the island is Catholicism. The main settlement on Barra is Castlebay, which features the stunning Kisimul Castle on a rock in the bay. Ferries sail from Castlebay to Oban on the mainland as well as to Tiree and Lochboisdale on South Uist. There is also an airport on Barra, near the settlement of Northbay. The airport uses a beach, An Tràigh Mhòr, as a landing strip and is said to be the worlds most stunning landing strip. There are no other airstrips that use a beach anywhere in the world. Barratlantic, the fish factory in Northbay, is a major contributor to the island’s economy. Tourism is another main contributor to the economy, like many of the other Hebridean islands. Fèis Bharraigh was founded in 1981 to help promote, develop and encourage the use of Gaelic literature, music, drama and culture. Traditional music is a huge part of the culture in the Outer Hebrides. Barra and Vatersay Ltd (Coimhearsnachd Bharraidh agus Bhatarsaidh) is a community owned company supporting development on Barra and Vatersay.
Hebridean Housing Partnership manages the social housing stock on the Isle of Barra. It is a not-for-profit housing association that manages over 2000 properties in the Western Isles. If you would like more information on HHP and social housing on Barra, or you are looking for a housing application form, please visit their website. For an overview of the number of HHP properties on Barra, click here.
PRIVATE RENTED HOUSING & HOUSING FOR SALE
Most housing on Barra is privately owned. There are a limited number of houses sold every year and there is often strong demand increasing local house prices. The Scottish Government promotes initiatives to help first time buyers, but some like the Help to Buy scheme and the MI New Home initiatives are mainly available for new build housing in locations outside of the Hebrides. Open Market LIFT may be accessible, however access to financial support is currently limited and house price thresholds are low. In Barra, the low threshold means there are few if any houses coming on the market where Open Market LIFT would be relevant. Many islands also have few house sales limiting this option – it is not available for self build. Islanders may also be able to get help to buy through the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme Information on properties available for rent and sale can be found at the following locations: Hebridean Estate Agency | Western Isles Properties | Gumtree | Rightmove | “The Local Housing Agency” www.tighean.co.uk