Purchasing land in Iceland

Hey all,

What the general situation concerning buying buildable land in Iceland?  Is the countryside much cheaper than city land?  I'm not interested in living in Reykjavík or the other largest cities and I'm absolutely fine with living in a rural area.

Are there specific locations around the island that are the cheapest?  Here, land in Washington state is about 15,000-30,000 USD per acre, and those are properties semi-close (20-40 miles) to medium cities like Bellevue, Bellingham, or land in Sequim.  Whereas Alaskan land can run for $5,000-15,000 an acre, and that's being approximately 30 miles south of Kenai and Anchorage, or about $5,000-10,000 an acre for land in the Fairbanks area of central Alaska.

I've been reading and deciding between Alaska or Iceland for permanent residence.  There's pros to both, but I like more of what I know about Iceland and what I know about its coastal climate rather than central Alaska's -40 degree tundra for almost half the year.  The biggest problems I see would be the language and European union barriers for moving to Iceland.

For my entire life I've lived in rural areas and it's what I'm used to.  I can build, plant and harvest, raise livestock, and I'm much more comfortable living off the land than owning a flat in the city.

Within the next four months I'm starting work on a baccalaureate degree in music technology, and post-that I'll be looking to attend a university to pursue a Masters degree in Composition.

ECS showed me the Iceland Academy of the Arts, Listaháskóli, which is in Reykjavik, so I'll need to be nearby while I study there.  The school looks like a good fit and they seem to offer a more comprehensive and interdisciplinary program than what the University of Washington has.

I don't think it would be possible to buy land during the time that I'm also studying at iaa but it would have to come after.  I'm guessing the job market for composers isn't the same in Iceland as it is in the USA entertainment industry.

you can actually check land for sale throughout the country on this real estate website:


select the region of the country on the left (Höfuðborgarsvæðið is Reykjavik and the surrounding towns)

then select jörð/lóð on the right.

If you're talking about having more of a farm experience, you might want to look at suðurland. Hveragerði and Selfoss are both within an hour or so of Reykjavik and are farming communities. Note though, that commuting daily across the heiði between Reykjavik and Hveragerði isn't always possible in winter. They do close the road, and sometimes even when it's not closed, the conditions can be quite bad. I do know people who do it though, and just have to work at home some days.

Hey thanks for all the help, it's much appreciated, and especially with the college.

I have a question about the IAA, Listaháskóli.  The tuition is listed as 211.000 ISK  per semester, and 422.000 per year in the bachelors programme.  Whenever I've converted this I've gotten approx. $1500 USD and $3100 USD which doesn't seem correct.  But, the application fee listed at 5000 króna converts to $80 dollars which does seem correct?
Is there something to the period in the hundreds place instead of a comma?


Also land listed at 700.000 ISK is five grand?  I'll probably be looking for something more but these seem to be relatively the same price range as Alaskan land so this looks good to me.   Although I'm assuming a large portion of it is recreational land

what doesn´t seem right about the cost of the school? Tuition for higher education is generally much cheaper in Scandinavia than the US. However, keep in mind that it's just the cost of schooling- you´re not going to be getting dorms and dining halls and free rugby clubs in that payment like you might at an American undergraduate institution. Books and materials are also not included in the Icelandic tuition.

I did check the Icelandic version of the site and it confirms those fees you found on the English site.

If I had to pick up and move to Iceland now, what process would you go through to get living there?

Besides airfare and starting money, if you literally had to pack your bags and move there, how would you go about finding housing and a temporary job to start climbing the ladder?

I know that I need a resident's visa and a passport at least, but after that, then what?

have you checked out any of the other threads in this forum? There have been several threads about finding housing and finding work.

However, coming from America, your biggest initial hurdle is going to be that resident visa. You have to have enough funding to cover your stay if you are going to be here as a  student, and you need to provide quite a bit of supplementary paperwork along with the application. I recommend reading up on that first. It's not as simple as buying a ticket and just showing up here.



Yep I've been looking around on the forum a lot recently.  A lot of my time has been spent here: http://www.utl.is/index.php/en/residence-permits figuring out how to get a student residence permit.

I'm applying to the IAA's Baccalaureate Programme in Composition and have been talking with them by email.  Just busy getting transcripts picked up and preparing application materials.

If I get accepted into Listaháskóli and I get the passport, permit, ect.  I think the biggest hurdle might be finding affordable housing.

housing in Reykjavik is indeed challenging to find. Most locals tend to own.

What passport are you referring to? American passport? You can get started on that now at least.


It's been a little over a week since I posted here.

Between work I've been getting my passport materials together and I'm planning to turn in my application this weekend.  It's been difficult trying to get a plan set up.

If I don't get accepted into a school in Iceland it's seems that it's virtually impossible to simply move there to work if you're not a qualified professional.

I'd like to support myself through agriculture.  My main reason for moving to Iceland is the temperate climate, the lands and geological beauty.  Alaska is my other choice but has general poor soil, crop scorching winters, hot continental summers, and rainy maritime coasts.  Iceland is my dream location because of the "place".  You've got a hotspot for aurora, young geology, volcanic soil, beautiful scenery, and I'm guessing a population that's slowly moving toward becoming a self sufficient nation.

The trouble I'm having is that I can't just move there to put it simply.

Moving to Alaska, sure, I can get a job in Anchorage, buy land up towards Talkeetna for cheap from savings, then pioneer the land for years until a can get a few harvests, get stabilized, and then live there for years with only like five neighbors.  Yes, it gets my dream fulfilled, but Iceland seems better from what I can read.

If anybody has any suggestion or comments from living there and knowing what the locals are like, they are much appreciated.

I farm cold weather crops, everything form garlic to chard to onions and leeks.  Also chickens and sheep, never raised cattle or horses.  I just have trouble seeing if this will help me much with moving to Iceland,  They only offer (that I'm eligible for), work and student residence permits.  If I become a student, fine.  But if I want to move there to benefit the nation through more manual work, what I'm used to, farmingand contracting, how do I go about that?  I am absolutely WILLING to do the work, I just want advice on it.

They only offer work residence permits for PROFESSIONALS, ATHLETES, and a temporary shortage of laborers because they have to hire Icelanders and EEU people first.

The only other option I see, and it's not that good of one, is travelling to Iceland, going around to rural areas and asking locals if they'd would be interested in hiring an American for labor.  The problem with this is that you bypass all the legal hoops and I'd probably be deported within a month.

Any help is much appreciated

Thanks in advance.

It's difficult in my position, and I don't know how friendly Icelanders are to the concept of homesteading and sustainable agriculture.  Is the farming lifestyle very prevalent in Iceland, or do most citizens give tours and work in the cities buying their products form other mainland nations?

Also, what's the situation with bringing American dogs to Iceland?  I have dogs that I depend on for herding and farm work around here and if I can't bring them It'd be a set back to have to buy and raise a whole new set of puppies, also they probably don't get a lot of newfoundlands there, or malamutes.

And is there a hunting culture there?  Don't worry, I'm not one of those American jackasses who hunts for the sport, I see enough of that BS here.  I do it for the livelihood.  Animals hunt animals all the time and humans shouldn't be any different; at least its better that the disgusting cattle farming practices the world has today.

Another good option might be to take agriculture credit courses here in the US at a college that can transfer the credits, and then go to Iceland so that you can be a "qualified professional".  (as if school ever taught people how to work)

Does anyone have any insight into the bidding process for purchasing a house in Iceland?

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