While the number of Hungarian buyers dropped by 14% from 2021 to 2022, there was a 38% increase of foreign buyers in the same period. What are the reasons behind this growth of interest? And what could we exeperience so far in 2023?
As the HUF got weaker compared to the EUR and other currencies, for most foreign investors real estate in Hungary became cheaper to buy. This drop in the value of HUF has certainly fuelled the property purchases.
Another large group of buyers are people who search a temporary or permanent new home. The below chart shows the number of inquiries received by Ingatlan.com, the largest Hungarian real estate portal from outside the country. We can see that most interest is coming from GERMANY and Austria who are mainly SENIOR people who plan to spend their retired years partly or fully in Hungary. Their primary focus is around the lake BALATON and the western border of the country. Inquiries from abroad does not express though clearly the interest of foreign buyers as for example from the UK lots of inquiries are coming from Hungarian citizens who live in the UK. Their registered number is already above 170,000.
Also according to the Central Statistical Office, the Germans purchased most of the properties in Hungary, over 2,000 units who were followed by SLOVAKIANS concentrating on the Northern part of the country. Similar to the German buyers, among Slovakians, two third of the buyers were above 65 years old. At the third place are the CHINESE buyers who are focusing over 90% on Budapest market.
Another group of buyers whose numbers increased this year is the ones who look for a Hungarian RESIDENCY permit by property investment. Among other requirements applicants can obtain the residency in Hungary after having purchased a residential property at a minimum value of 155,000 EUR. Applicants come from all over the world, I had such clients from Russia or the far East earlier this year. In my experience they aim to buy properties 150-300,000 EUR within a fairly short time as they have 90 days to complete with the purchase process from the receipt of the Hungarian ID card.
Altogether foreign buyers bought a RECORD number of 8,000 homes in Hungary last year which is almost 10% higher than in the pre-pandemic peak in 2018 and which means a 38% increase year-on-year basis.