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May 11th, 2017

Do Foreign Buyers, Sellers and Investors Drive Hungary’s Red Hot Real Estate Market?

Are foreigners responsible for what has happened in Budapest? – asked the question Hungary’s leading economic online journal in its article on current property market tendencies. According to the answer foreign home buyers may have played an important role in property price growth.

Are home prices really pulled up by foreigners?

Although the proportion of foreign home buyers has been only 2-3 percent, their share was around 22-27 percent in the inner districts of the Hungarian capital last year. Many of them have seen the property market trends as alternative opportunities for investments; hence they bought investment properties to let. Taking into account these factors the growing interest from the part of foreigners may have influenced home price increase after the economic crisis especially in Budapest. The Airbnb-boom has also had a major impact on the property prices, although the Airbnb-fever lost its dynamism in the course of 2016. Due to the saturation of the market for many of the investors it had not been worthwhile to rent the apartment on short term, however, prices kept on soaring in the central parts of Budapest.  This would reflect the persistent signs of the popularity of the country, not least Budapest among foreign buyers.  Experiencing the price increase foreign investors aimed to exploit this wave.  The rate of the foreign buyers was the highest in Budapest, where 8.6 percent of the home buyers was not Hungarian citizen, the second highest proportion was found in the northern-western part of the country - probably due to the closeness of the Austrian border. 

Distribution of foreign home buyers in districts of Budapest  

The interest of foreign buyers shows a strong division in Budapest, since the downtown outran the rest of the districts in respect of transactions made by foreigners.

  • 22 percent of the buyers was not Hungarian citizen in district 7 
  • more than 25 percent of the buyers was not Hungarian citizen in district 6 
  • this rate reached 27 percent in district 5
  • in district 8 this rate was 14 percent
  • in district 1 it reached 11 percent 
Who are the buyers?

”More than 3000 non-EU citizens bought properties, mainly apartments in Hungary. One third of the buyers were Chinese but there were many Russians as well” – reported a Hungarian online journal, magyaridő referring to a document published by the State:

  • Chinese: among the Non-EU citizens Chinese were the most active ones, buying 1213 properties mainly in districts 2, 6, 6, 7, 10 and 13 of Budapest.
  • Russians: 44 real estate transactions were registered last year. Russians prefer the capital as well as Hévíz. Hévíz is a unique and worldwide famous thermal spa-complex, where 58 non-EU citizens – among which 44 Russians - purchased properties in 2016.
  • Hundreds of Ukrainian, Israeli, American and Turkish buyers also appeared in the Hungarian real estate market.
What do they buy?

”Foreign buyers search for apartments that are cheaper than HUF 50 million and they pay even HUF 250.000 per month for the rent. According to experts the role of foreign purchasers can get stronger in the market of more expensive apartments and in the most popular areas in Budapest due to the price increase” – reported a Hungarian journal, Most of the foreign buyers have strong financial background, who can easily pay the increased prices. Foreigners are also active sellers, they sold 15.000 properties in the last 3 years – the journal also demonstrated the data.


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