In Hungary, the central European landlocked country of hills and plains with around 10 million inhabitants, house prices doubled in the ten years between 2010 and the first quarter of 2021, with only two other countries in the European Union (Estonia and Luxembourg) exceeding this growth, according to Eurostat using data from the Hungarian Central Statistical Office.
"In Budapest it was an even bigger increase," said Gabor Borbely, director and head of business development and research at CBRE brokerage in Budapest. “It comes from a much lower base, of course, so Hungary is one of the cheapest markets in the European Union. If you compare Budapest to Prague or Warsaw – which have similar size, similar purchasing power, similar geography – housing prices are still much lower. In some cases, shopping in Budapest is 40 to 50 percent cheaper than in Prague. "
The global pandemic, now largely under control in Hungary, having peaked in late 2020 and again last spring, halted this decade-long price hike in Budapest. Home prices fell a few percentage points in 2020 before recovering to their 2019 levels earlier in the year, Borbely said.
Budapest's housing market was hit harder by the pandemic than the rest of Hungary, as international buyers disappeared and domestic buyers churned. As in other countries, many residents chose to buy homes in regions outside the capital, especially in resort areas, brokers said.
"Potential buyers are more and more open to real estate on the outskirts of larger cities or in the country," says Karoly Benedikt, Head of Marketing, Public Relations and Analysis at the Budapest agency Duna House.
Changes in consumer behavior have pushed home prices up by 10 to 20 percent in some areas outside of Budapest, and even more so at Lake Balaton, a 78-kilometer freshwater lake about 80 kilometers west of Budapest, Borbely said, “It definitely will The gap between the capital and the regional markets is smaller, something we haven't seen in the last two decades. "