Hungarian property has enjoyed a steady rise in popularity over recent years, mainly due to the substantial EU investment in the country’s infrastructure. As Pauline Scrace of International Horizons explains, other developments may also attract overseas buyers: “Hungary’s finance and legal systems are currently being honed to make the once-torturous property-buying process run ever-more smoothly. Regular flights by Easy Jet and other budget airlines have made the city easy and cheap to get to, and weekend accommodation is already a recognised sector of the property market.”
Jason Wynne is a Brit who recently purchased a £100,000 two-bedroom apartment in Budapest. Having looked at a number of emerging markets, he decided that Hungarian property was the best long-term proposition. “A relatively successful entry to the EU, a growing economy with good FDI, a stable property market, good land registry and Budapest being a strategically important city were among my reasons for entering the market,” he explains. “The property was in a good shape already, having been recently renovated, and the location is superb.”
Despite the fact that the Hungarian economy has had a troubled few months, most recently being described as ‘fragile’ by Property Secrets’ Head of Research and Analysis Simon Tweddle, Wynne claims that he has never felt nervous about his Hungarian property investment. “Hearing that the government had not been honest and that the economy was not in as good shape as first thought cannot be deemed positive. But you have to be philosophical about these events. It is an emerging country which only threw off the shackles of communism 17 years ago. I was never nervous, because I’m not due to sell for at least five to six years.”
As with any other country, the area in which you buy and the property you choose will have a significant impact on capital return. Budapest is the real investment hot-spot, but waterside resorts with good reputations – such as the Lake Balaton area south-west of Budapest – are usually a solid investment. Villas in the region currently start at £100,000 with older style properties sometimes available for as little as £20,000. “Other areas worth considering are the ski resorts of the north-central Matra Mountains,” says Scrace, “also the beautiful baroque city of Eger, famous for its Bull’s Blood wine”.
Finally, the garden city of Gyomro is tipped by developers to be an excellent long-term Hungarian property investment. Fifteen minutes drive from Budapest city centre, the lakeside city is fast becoming a regional, commercial, educational and tourism centre. International Horizons is currently offering plots in the gated Bella Toscana development at a guide price of £30 per metre square.