Tag Archive for: moving to Budapest

Learn about the latest trends in the Hungarian property market, from rising rental yields to a decline in flat supply, and how they affect Hungarian property prices in the second part of a series of articles on the Hungarian housing market.

Rental yields in Budapest are moderately good, with Buda apartments outperforming Pest, and apartment rents are rising again. The main reason for the rent increase is a decrease in rental flat supply.
Despite rising interest rates, the Hungarian housing loan market is expanding, with more people purchasing homes with loans.

Hungarian property market trends

Number of housing transactions made by private persons by quarter years – source: KSH

Residential Construction Rise

The Hungarian property market surge has resulted in a sharp increase in residential construction, with almost half of the new supply being in Budapest and Pest. In 2020, the total number of newly built dwellings in Hungary rose 33.5% y-o-y to 28,208 units, despite the pandemic. However, in 2021, newly built dwellings fell by 29.5% y-o-y to 19,898 units due to rising material costs.

Budapest Rental Yields are Moderately Good with Rents Rising Again

The rental yields in Budapest are moderately good with the Hungarian property market rebounding from the decline due to travel restrictions and Airbnb regulations. Gross rental yields in Buda apartments are yielding higher returns than Pest.

The apartment rents in Budapest are on the rise again, particularly due to the decline in the supply of rental apartments.

Higher Yields in Buda, Lower in Pest

According to a Global Property Guide research, apartments in Buda have higher yields ranging from 5.63% for smaller-sized apartments of 90 sq. m. to 5.73% for larger apartments of 120 sq. m. In comparison, apartments in Pest have slightly lower rental yields ranging from 5.16% to 5.24%.

Rising Rents

According to KSH-ingatlan.com rent index analysis, apartment rents in Hungary surged 23.4% YoY by end-Q2 2022, with rents in Budapest increasing 24% YoY over the same period. However, the longer-term data indicate a moderate rise in prices, with average rents rising by almost 66% nationally and 57% in the capital since 2015.

Decline in Rental Apartment Supply

The decline in rental apartment supply is the main reason for the surge in rents. The number of apartments for rent has dropped from 20,000 to just over 10,000, a 49% decline, in the past year, said László Balogh, the leading economic expert of ingatlan.com.

Rent Range in Budapest

The average monthly rents for brick apartments in Budapest range from HUF 125,000 (€294) to HUF 350,000 (€825). Districts 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 12 are among the most expensive areas while Districts 4 and 10 and the peripheral districts on the Pest side are the cheapest.

Hungarian Property Market Trends - Rent range in Budapest

Source: KSH (Hungarian Central Statistical Office)

Interest Rates on the Rise

Despite the increasing interest rates, the Hungarian housing loan market is growing, with more people buying houses with loans. However, the size of the mortgage market remains small compared to GDP.

According to the European Central Bank, housing loan interest rates are beginning to rise, with the average interest rate on housing loans increasing to 4.83% in August 2022 from 4.49% in the previous year. As a result, this may have an impact on Hungarian property market in the near future.

Hungary Interest Rates

The average interest rates on loans for house purchases by initial rate fixation (IRF) in August 2022 were as follows:

  • IRF of up to 1 year: 6.52%
  • IRF over 1 year and up to 5 years: 4.7%
  • IRF over 5 years: 4.83%

Mortgage Market Growing Strongly

The growth of Hungarian property market continues to drive the mortgage market, which is showing strong signs of expansion.

The value of new housing loans disbursed rose significantly by 36.2% to HUF 1.25 trillion (€2.94 billion) in 2021, and the total number of new housing loans disbursed increased 16.7% to 121,347 last year.

New Loans Disbursed

Hungarian property market have witnessed a significant rise in the number of new loans disbursed for buying second-hand homes, which surged by almost 35% y-o-y to HUF 857.8 billion (€2.02 billion), and loans for buying new homes rose strongly by 21.7% to HUF 135.61 billion (€319.4 million) last year.

Loans for housing construction rose slightly by 2.1% to HUF 80.4 billion (€189.3 million) last year, and loans for home renovation almost tripled to HUF 118.72 billion (€279.6 million) in 2021.

Reasons for Increased Loan Demand

Hungary’s relatively low interest rates and subsidized lending schemes, such as the Family Housing Subsidy Scheme (CSOK), have led to increased loan demand. The government’s newly introduced home improvement subsidy has also contributed to this.

Housing Loans Outstanding

The value of housing loans outstanding increased 15% to HUF 4.58 trillion (€10.8 billion) in 2021, and the share of “problem-free” loans slightly declined to 96%. The non-performing exposure ratio also increased to 3.7% last year.

The state of Hungary’s economy

Hungary’s economy has had a strong recovery since the pandemic, registering a real GDP growth rate of 7.1% in 2021, one of the fastest in the EU. In Q2 2022, the economy grew by 6.5% YoY, with all sectors contributing except agriculture.

However, the European Commission’s forecast expects the economy to slow down to 5.2% this year due to rising inflation, tightening fiscal and monetary policies, trade disruptions, and the situation in Ukraine and Russia. These factors may also strongly affect the Hungarian property market.

GDP Growth and Contributing Sectors

Hungary’s Finance Minister noted that Q2 growth was supported by all branches of the economy, particularly industry, trade, tourism, the financial sector, and ICT. Quarter-on-quarter, the economy expanded by 1% in Q2 after growing by 2.1% in the previous quarter.

Forecasted Slowdown in Economic Growth

While Hungary’s economy has been experiencing strong growth, it is expected to slow down due to various factors such as inflation, fiscal and monetary policies, trade disruptions, and uncertainty in Ukraine and Russia. As a result, the growth of the Hungarian property market is also expected to be impacted.

Unemployment and Inflation

Unemployment in Hungary is at a low of 3.4%, and the nationwide inflation rate in August 2022 rose to 15.6%, the highest since May 1998. The surge in inflation was due to a rise in food and other commodity prices, far above the central bank’s target range of 2% to 4%.

According to data from the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH), Hungarian housing market saw a surge of 22.8% (11% inflation-adjusted) in Q2 2022, the highest annual price growth recorded in recent history.

The demand for homes has also risen after a decline in 2019-20, with the total number of second-hand homes sold increasing by 13.8% in 2021. Meanwhile, foreign demand has recovered due to the weakening of the forint against the euro.

Regional Price Trends

Pest, the eastern part of Budapest, had the highest y-o-y increase of 33.7%, followed by Northern Great Plain, Northern Hungary, Southern Great Plain, Central Transdanubia, Southern Transdanubia, and Western Transdanubia. Budapest saw a more modest increase of 9.7% in the mean price of second-hand homes y-o-y.

Local House Price Variations

Budapest and Pest have the most expensive housing, with the average price of second-hand homes reaching HUF 39.7 million (€93,491) in 2021. Meanwhile, the Great Plain and North regions have the least expensive housing, with the average price standing at around HUF 11.7 million (€27,553) and HUF 14.3 million (€33,676), respectively.

Hungarian Housing Market: Price Trends

Mean price per sqm by region and settlement type, source: KSH

Average Home Prices

In Q1 2021, the average price of new homes was HUF 45.6 million (€107,862), while second-hand homes averaged HUF 22.8 million (€53,931).

Overview of the Hungarian Housing Market

Hungarian Housing Market – trends in housing prices, source: KSH

Rising Demand

The demand for second-hand homes has bounced back strongly, with an annual increase of 13.8% in 2021. This is a significant improvement from declines of 14.3% in 2020 and 5.7% in 2019. Foreign demand is also on the rise due to the weakening of the forint against the euro.

Hungarian housing market continues to rise, with an increasing number of people looking to purchase homes, particularly in Budapest.

The number of second-hand homes sold rose by 13.8% to 142,138 units in 2021 from a year earlier, a significant improvement from annual declines in 2020 and 2019. Second-hand home sales increased in Central Hungary and Transdanubia by 12.8% and 15.6% year-on-year, respectively. In contrast, sales in Pest decreased by 25.4% in 2021.

Hungarian Housing Market: Rising Demand

Source: KSH

Hungarian Housing Market: Weak Construction but Improving Demand

Despite a robust overall economy, Hungary’s residential construction activity remains weak. In the first half of 2021, housing completions fell by 6.8% year-on-year to 9,133 units, with a 16.8% drop in Central Hungary and a 1.9% drop in Great Plain and North. Newly built homes increased 21.6% year-on-year in Transdanubia.

Foreign Buyers Rising Again

In the first half of 2022, the number of foreigners interested in Hungarian residential properties rose by 10%, partly due to weakening domestic currency against the euro. The high concentration of foreign homebuyers in Budapest is one of the main reasons for the huge price difference between the city and the rest of the country, with foreigners spending on average over HUF 40 million (€94,195) on a home in Budapest.

Foreign Homebuyers in Hungary: Popular Locations and Legal Requirements

Hungary has been a popular destination for foreign property buyers in recent years, with Budapest being the most favored location. In fact, more than half of foreign property demand is in Budapest. District 7, 6, and 8 are the top three districts preferred by foreign homebuyers. Moreover, towns and villages in the counties around Lake Balaton also represent about 11% of foreign demand.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the foreign property market in Hungary. Home purchases by foreigners have significantly dropped due to travel restrictions. Before the pandemic, foreign homebuyers were on the rise.

From 2017 to 2019, the number of purchases increased from 3,207 to 3,753. Chinese citizens accounted for more than half of the total, followed by EU citizens, primarily Germans. Other large groups of buyers were Israelis, Russians, and Turks.

Hungarian law requires that real estate purchases be concluded through private contracts countersigned by a lawyer. Non-Hungarian citizens must obtain approval from the relevant Administrative Office to purchase property as a private person. The process usually takes 2-3 months.

To avoid this approval process, most lawyers advise foreign nationals to set up a company registered in Hungary to purchase property. This process takes only 1-2 days, and all expenses can be written off.

In conclusion, Hungary is a popular destination for foreign property buyers, particularly in Budapest and towns/villages around Lake Balaton. However, purchasing property in Hungary as a foreigner requires following legal requirements, and it is advisable to consult a lawyer for guidance.

Hungary’s Housing Cycle: From Crisis to Recovery

The Hungarian housing market has experienced a tumultuous cycle from crisis to recovery, with government measures playing a significant role in boosting demand. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the housing market, but it has quickly bounced back in 2021. As Hungary continues to recover, the housing market is likely to see further growth in the coming years.

The Hungarian housing market suffered a severe decline from 2008 to 2013, with house prices falling by 21% (36% inflation-adjusted) as a result of the 2009 global financial crisis and the forint’s steep decline that caused the mortgage market to collapse.

However, legislation in November 2014 required financial institutions to convert all outstanding foreign currency-denominated loans into HUF by December 2015, causing a sharp decrease in the stock of housing loans in foreign currency. House prices began to rise by 6.6% (7.3% inflation-adjusted) in 2014, and have been increasing annually by double-digits, surging by a total of 120% (99% inflation-adjusted) in 2014-19.

COVID-19 Impact on the Hungarian Housing Market

The housing market’s growth decelerated to 6.8% (3.9% inflation-adjusted) in 2020 due to the economic repercussions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ensuing lockdown measures, and travel restrictions. However, the Hungarian housing market bounced back quickly in 2021, registering a house price increase of 21.4% (13.4% inflation-adjusted), as economic conditions gradually improve.

Government Measures Boost Demand

Part of the housing demand recovery during 2014-5 was due to other government measures. In 2013, the government increased the amount of 5-year loan subsidies, the maximum value of subsidized loans, and the loan house price threshold, resulting in significantly stronger credit demand in the second half of 2013.

In 2015, a non-refundable subsidy, the family housing allowance (CSOK), became available for buying new- and used homes, apartment expansions, and home construction. The program was expanded in 2018, allowing families returning from abroad and those owning a property to apply for the CSOK.

By end-2021, almost 192,000 families had benefited from the program, receiving a total of HUF 467.4 billion (€1.1 billion). Furthermore, every woman under the age of 40 is eligible for a CSOK interest-free loan when she first gets married. The government also repays HUF 1 million (€2,355) of mortgage loans for families with at least two children.

If you’re planning to relocate to Hungary, it’s important to be aware of the country’s customs and traditions, particularly during holidays such as Easter. Easter in Hungary is very significant for the locals, and it’s important to understand how Hungarians celebrate this holiday.

In this article, we will explore the Easter traditions and customs in Hungary that you should be aware of as a newcomer.

Easter in Hungary: A Time of Celebrations and Traditions

Easter in Hungary is a time of joy, feasting, and celebrations. The Easter holiday starts with Good Friday, which is a solemn day when the Hungarians remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. On this day, you will see people visiting the churches, and many shops and restaurants remain closed.

Easter Sunday is the most important day in the Hungarian Easter celebrations. On this day, the locals attend a mass in their local church, and families gather to have a festive meal. The traditional Easter meal in Hungary is ham and hard-boiled eggs, which are often decorated with intricate designs. You will also find a range of delicious cakes and pastries, such as the famous Hungarian Easter cake, known as “Kalács.”

Easter Monday, known as “Ducking Monday, or “Dousing Day” is a unique Hungarian tradition where boys visit the homes of girls and sprinkle water on them. According to the tradition, the water has a cleansing effect and brings good health and beauty to the girls.

Easter in Hungary: traditional kalács

Customs and Superstitions

Apart from the traditional Easter celebrations, Hungary has many customs and superstitions that are unique to this holiday. One of the most famous customs is the “Easter Sprinkling,” where people sprinkle perfume or cologne on each other’s faces as a sign of good luck and health.

To celebrate Easter in Hungary, Easter eggs are a must-have as they symbolize rebirth and new life. It is a traditional practice to dye the Easter eggs red in Hungary, and during the season, you can find them everywhere. Another interesting custom is that after sprinkling the girls, men usually receive a red-painted egg.

Easter in Hungary: traditional red eggs

The Hungarian Easter tradition involves the Easter Bunny who hides painted eggs and chocolates for children to find in the garden on Easter Sunday morning. However, it’s worth noting that this practice originated in Germany.

In Hungary, it is also believed that you should not whistle on Easter Sunday, as it will bring bad luck for the rest of the year. It’s also considered unlucky to sweep the house during Easter, as it is believed to sweep away the good luck.

Local customs and traditions can help you integrate

Relocating to Hungary can be an exciting experience, and it’s essential to know the local customs and traditions to help you integrate into the local community.

Easter in Hungary is significant, and by understanding the traditions and customs, you can participate and enjoy the celebrations like a local. From the solemn Good Friday to the joyful Easter Sunday and the unique Easter Monday, Hungary has a rich and diverse culture that celebrates the Easter season in a unique way.

So, if you’re relocating to Hungary, get ready to experience the traditions and customs of Easter in this beautiful country. Happy Easter!

Budapest is a beautiful and vibrant city that is rich in culture and history. If you are moving to Budapest, you may find that adjusting to life in a new country is difficult.

However, with a little effort and some helpful advice to help you, you can quickly settle into your new life in Budapest.

Here are 12 simple tips to help you adjust to your new surroundings:

1. Study the language

While it is possible to get by without knowing Hungarian in Budapest, knowing the language will make your life much easier.

Hungarian is regarded as one of the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers, ranking among the top ten.

However, it is definitely worth a shot. On average, it takes 44 weeks of consistent practise to be able to hold a decent conversation. Surprisingly, the Hungarian alphabet also has 44 letters!

Although it may appear difficult at first, learning the language will significantly enhance your life in Budapest. To begin, consider taking language classes or using language learning apps to learn the fundamentals and gradually expand your vocabulary.

This will not only help you communicate with locals, but it will also make it easier to navigate daily tasks like grocery shopping, restaurant ordering, and getting around the city.

2. Learn about the city.

Spend some time exploring the city to become acquainted with its layout and various neighbourhoods. This will make you feel more at ease and confident in your surroundings.

3. Join expat organisations.

There are numerous expat groups in Budapest that can help you build a social network and provide useful information. Joining one of these groups can help you adjust to your new surroundings faster.

4. Try the local cuisine.

Hungarian cuisine is delicious and unique, so try some of the local dishes. This will make you feel more at ease with the local culture.

5. Use public transportation.

Budapest has a fantastic public transportation system that is both affordable and efficient. It’s a great way to get around town and discover new neighbourhoods.

6. Discover the customs.

Hungary has its own traditions and customs that may differ from what you are used to. Learn about these traditions so that you can understand and respect them.

7. Be willing to try new things.

Budapest has a lot to offer, so be open to new experiences. Whether it’s trying new foods or going to a local festival, being open to new experiences will help you adjust to life in Budapest.

8. Make new friends with the locals.

Making friends with locals will help you understand the local culture and feel more connected to your new home.

9. Participate in activities.

Get involved in activities that interest you in Budapest’s thriving arts and culture scene. This will assist you in meeting new people and making new friends.

10. Find a hobby.

Finding an enjoyable hobby will help you feel more at ease in your new surroundings. Finding a hobby, whether it’s sports or joining a book club, can help you connect with like-minded people.

11. Maintain contact with family and friends.

Moving to a new country can be stressful, so keep in touch with your family and friends back home. This will make you feel more supported during your transition period.

12. Please, be patient.

It takes time to adjust to life in a new country, so be patient with yourself. Expect nothing to happen overnight, and remember that it’s fine to make mistakes and seek assistance along the way.

To summarise, moving to Budapest can be a difficult but rewarding experience. By following these tips and giving yourself enough time to adjust, you will be able to quickly settle into your new life in Budapest and begin enjoying everything that this lovely city has to offer.

As we shared with you last year, Inter Relocation’s owner was once an aspiring musician; so when new Budapest-based band Tuesday Night Rodeo, contacted him to talk about corporate sponsorship, they received a friendly reception. Inter Relocation has taken the decision to continue this fruitful cooperation throughout 2017.

We talked to lead singer Terry Etheridge and Inter Relocation’s owner, Stuart McAlister about their cooperation, music and how Tuesday Night Rodeo has moved on since the last time we spoke to them.

Budapest’s Newest Expat Rock God - Tuesday Night Rodeo

Although Tuesday Night Rodeo was formed just last year, you’ve already achieved great success. Could you summarize the major milestones thus far?

Terry: Every new band wishes and hopes for airplay and a label deal, Tuesday Night Rodeo managed to secure a label deal and release within the first year, soon after RadioRock in Hungary gave us our first airplay, and to achieve daily rotation was a big wow for us!

Stuart, was it even a question for Inter Relocation to continue sponsoring the band?

Stuart: Honestly, yes. Our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy involves different elements and whenever we support a cultural project there must be real value in the support we give. Tuesday Night Rodeo is a great example of cross-cultural cooperation, a group of Hungarian musicians with a Brit on lead vocals and guitar, playing ostensibly American music. This is what attracted us to the project, a truly international blend of nationalities and musical backgrounds, coming together in Hungary to play yet another style of music. 

You have musical background, mostly pop and funk. Why a country-rock band?

Stuart: I’ve known Terry as well as Joey from Paddy and the Rats for several years and when I heard about this new musical direction that they were taking together, I was very excited. Country rock isn’t a genre that has featured much in my life but artists like Sting have dabbled with country music and knowing Terry the way I do, I knew that the songs they write will be a little different from what I might typically expect country rock to mean. I was not disappointed!

How exactly did this cooperation start? Sure there is a bit more insider information.

Stuart: Well, inevitably, it started in the Caledonia Pub. Terry and I had had a casual conversation about this new band project over a beer and then he contacted me formally to express that the band was looking for founder sponsors. We explored the cooperation together and it made sense for me both from a CSR and business perspective. I’ll hand over to Terry to give you his side of the story. 🙂

Terry: Indeed, it did all start over a beer, or was that two? I’d known Stuart for several years and also knew he was a fellow musician. When the idea of sponsorship came up Stuart/Inter-relocation were obvious potential partners.  Stuart’s business has been built supporting the local community and newcomers to Hungary. We chatted about the possibilities and soon realised the mutual benefits. Tuesday Night Rodeo are very proud to work in partnership with Inter Relocation.

What has changed in the band’s life since we last spoke to you? Are there any new or unique directions TNR is taking?

Terry: Joey and I have already started writing the next Tuesday Night Rodeo album. There will be focus on writing more up tempo material. Joey also just had the good fortune to record the new Paddy & The Rats album with an American producer Cameron Webb, who has produced the likes of Sum41 and Motorhead. We are already applying some of the guitar recording techniques Joey learnt to the demos for the new artist that Joey and I are managing and writing for, AGGI.  So expect the new album to be a much bigger sound.

What is the biggest success in the band’s life to date?

Terry: Obviously such a fast album release, but now we are gaining airplay abroad too. The Album has been picked up by several country radio stations in the States and in the UK.

Your YouTube channel is pretty successful. There are comments like “I’m really digging this!”, “Very unique sound and vocal style!” and “I’m impressed!” What makes the band unique?

Terry: The band members all come from very different musical backgrounds, we didn’t take a look at the ‘Rule book for writing Country songs’. We wrote what we felt would make a new fresh approach to country, and then hung on to our hats.  Being from London and living here in Budapest it seems that we can re-write the rule book, It’s almost expected. I’m not sure that would be the same for an American band.

Who are the current members of the band?

Terry: Myself, Joey & Sam from Paddy and the Rats, Stephen and our newest addition is bass-man Danny Cser who joined us just in time for the Inter Relocation birthday party back in March.

Summer is a big outdoor concert season. Where will we have the chance to see TNR?

Terry: We are still working on dates at the moment….   You will be the first to know

What’s the next big step for the band?

Terry: The next album. We plan to add songs from that in to the set early to make our live performance more “up”. There are also plans for a new video release, but again, it’s still in the planning stage.

In the first installment of this guide to renting an apartment in Budapest we looked at the process of actually finding the right property and ensuring that the legal and immigration aspects have been properly covered.

Failure may cause problems at the immigration office

Now we’ll look at the terms and conditions you need to ensure are included in your lease contract:

First of all the contract must state the right of all users of the property to live there. The contract must state “and family” or mention those family members by name as users of the property. Failure to do so may cause problems later at the immigration office.

Renting an apartment in Budapest: key contract clauses

There are then key contract clauses that you should ensure are included:

1. The security deposit should be refundable and would typically be an amount of one or two months’ rent.

2. In Hungary the tenant is not expected to return the property to the landlord in the condition it was given. The law allows that normal wear and tear during a lease is acceptable and not recoverable from the security deposit. The definition of what constitutes “normal wear and tear” is quite broad, however, and disputes can easily arise when it comes to handing back the property.

Guide ti renting an apartment in Budapest

3. It’s important to have a clause which states that should anything go wrong with the property it be fixed within seven calendar days. For critical losses of service such as power, water supply, heating, etc. to be addressed within 24 hours of notification by the tenant.

4. If the tenant has relocated to Budapest for work, it’s important to add in what’s called a diplomatic clause to the contract. This allows the tenant to break the terms of the lease at one month’s notice in the event that his or her position in Hungary is terminated and they can provide proof to that end. The pain of losing your job should not be compounded by having to pay rent on a property you no longer live in.

Housing law tends to favour the tenant

The Hungarian housing law (lakástörvény) actually tends to favour the tenant, and any contract clause that contradicts the law is considered invalid. The key of course in all such contracts is to reach an agreement that ultimately avoids the need for resolution via the courts.

Finally, before moving into your new home it’s vital to document the condition of the property to avoid any misunderstandings later. Most tenants accept some small fault or imperfection when they move into a property, and to avoid being charged to fix that fault at the end of the lease it’s important to write some kind of handover protocol, and ideally to have it witnessed when both landlord and tenant sign it.

Ideally you should also take photographs of every room and specifically of anything that isn’t perfect when you move in.


To learn more, please contact us on [email protected] or call +36 1 278 5680

For new arrivals in Budapest, finding an apartment at the right price with the right legal conditions can be a real challenge. Read our guide to renting an apartment in Budapest.

Finding a landlord who will respect the terms of the lease agreement you’ll sign further adds to this challenge.

There are plenty of real estate agents, management companies and even English-speaking owners advertising properties for an expatriate audience. There is also an increasing number of Facebook groups for Budapest where private owners and companies alike advertise their wares. Accessing the market is not an issue.

Using many different sources to find a new home can make the search process more complex. Conversely, shopping around or renting privately direct from an owner can help make the most of a tenants budget. There are pitfalls, however.

How to rent an apartment in Budapest: prices can suddenly rise

The internet can teach you a fair market price but note that most prices quoted online assume you’ll pay cash. If you ask for an invoice you might find that the original price suddenly rises by up to 40 percent. Similar increases may happen if you mention that your lease contract will be needed for your residence permit application.

Guide to renting an apartment in Budapest

Rental income is taxable in Hungary. So if your landlord wants a cash deal or is not too keen on letting you register yourself in his home, it’s safe to assume he has something to hide from the taxman. However, you don’t encounter these landlord-related issues, there are still some potential issues when it comes to the immigration stuff.

Read part two of this guide here.

Expert guide to renting an apartment in Budapest: prove or move

One example is that at the immigration office you may be asked to provide a land registry document (tulajdonilap). This is to prove that the person you’re renting from is indeed the owner, and that there aren’t multiple owners.

Any owner has the right to throw you out into the street because they didn’t sign up to you living there.

Another example is that the apartment has not yet been registered with the state database of properties, a legal requirement before a person can be registered at that address. This is typical for new build properties.

An easy way to test this is to ask the landlord to confirm if anyone has had an address card (lakcímkártya) issued for that apartment and, if so, to show you a copy.

In the next instalment we’ll look at the key contract clauses you should always make sure you have in your lease and what power you have if the landlord isn’t doing what was agreed.


To learn more, please contact us on [email protected] or call +36 1 278 5680.
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The life of a successful musician is one many aspire to. The live performances, days in the studio, the groupies, who wouldn’t like to have that life?

Believe it or not, Inter Relocation’s company owner used to be an aspiring musician himself; so when new Budapest-based band Tuesday Night Rodeo contacted him to talk about possible corporate sponsorship, they got a friendly reception.

We’re delighted to announce that Inter Relocation is one of the founder sponsors of Tuesday Night Rodeo, a country-rock band closely related to the well-known Irish-Hungarian band, Paddy and the Rats. We talked to the expat guitarist with Tuesday Night Rodeo, Terry Etheridge. He has had an amazing musical career in his own right and his story really does read like a wild rodeo ride.

Budapest’s Newest Expat Rock God - Tuesday Night Rodeo

How would you describe yourself in 5 words?

In no particular order:

  • Active
  • Quirky
  • Productive
  • Positive
  • Outgoing

How did your career begin?

That fated day, back when I was a kid watching ‘Top of the Pops’.

Suddenly Marc Bolan and T-Rex appeared on screen, (for those who don’t know Marc Bolan, he  ‘invented’ Glam Rock, a road that David Bowie was too soon follow and start his career).

Earlier my father had asked what I wanted for Christmas, it was easy, “I want a guitar, I want to be like him”. My father agreed, but assured me it would be a “5 minute wonder”.  I do remind him on occasion, just how long that 5 minutes has been!

You lived in plenty of places, including Japan. Which is your favourite part of the world?

Favourite has to be here in Budapest, otherwise I wouldn’t have settled here. She’s a beautiful city with the charm of a town. I still have so many places I wish to see, I adore the Far East.

What was the reason you came to Hungary?

I tripped over Budapest via a friend who was spending sometime here. Came first for a weekend, then another and another; as my love affair with the city grew I started to learn more about Hungary too. Now, I wouldn’t swap her for anything.

Who inspired you the most, who were your role-models in your life?

Mum & Dad are, of course, my role models. Inspiration? Anyone who crafts what they do well, it’s not about success, but about having the passion to love what you do.

What was your biggest success in your personal life?

I have played with some great artists, been involved in big projects, hit the charts in the UK and Japan, but my greatest success is still being here today wanting to make music.

I’ve seen failure too and seen fantastic musicians give up because it wasn’t working out for them, I wasn’t ever going to let the failures outweigh the success.

Why did you choose music as your profession?

I have done other things in my time, but they have all been based in and around entertainment. I think, if possible, you should love what you do.

How did Tuesday Night Rodeo start?

It all started with a bunch of great musician friends sitting down for a beer. At some point in the evening someone suggested that, as we had never played together, we should one day book a rehearsal studio and jam, just for some fun.

A shout went up about ‘doing something different’ and another replied ‘what about Country Rock?’  It was agreed.

Interestingly, that rehearsal never happened, instead we started writing and recording.

A follow up meeting was arranged to name the band at The Caledonia Pub and Patrick, the owner, kindly decided to sponsor the meeting with a bottle (that became 2) of Jack Daniels. The word RODEO kept coming back across the table… by the end of the last glass, it was agreed to put TUESDAY NIGHT in front of RODEO…  basically because, it was late, we’d had too much to drink and its was a Tuesday evening.

Budapest’s Newest Expat Rock God - Tuesday Night Rodeo

Will you introduce your fellow band members?

The Band consists of 2 members of PADDY & THE RATS. Sam on Fiddle and Banjo and Joey, who is my song writing partner in TUESDAY NIGHT RODEO, on guitar. PADDY & THE RATS are currently on a European Tour supporting the American band IGNITE.

They are playing to major crowds (2000+) here in Budapest and are the most downloaded/viewed Hungarian band outside of Hungary.

Steve is the drummer, he is well known on the music circuit and amongst Hungarian musicians. Steve does a lot of sessions as well as playing in Guns n’ Roses tribute band.

What were the most significant life-events in your career?

That has to be releasing my first single, which was in Japan.

As a young musician you believe you are the best thing since sliced bread.

In the run up to that release, under the direction of my then management and record label, came the realisation that this is a job, it involves a lot of hard work and absolute dedication.

There are thousands of amazing artists out there; some of whom will or have gone onto do great things. You have to have self-belief, but respect for what else is out there.

What do you do to switch off?

Now that’s an interesting question, believe it not, there’s no greater way for me to relax than by picking up a guitar. Somehow I manage to separate the work from the hobby.

What’s your biggest goal?

To keep making music!


When the time comes to retire will you be ready to live in the same country in which you have always lived? Can you afford your house payments on just your retirement income?

by Gary Lukatch

How about renting an apartment in the middle of town? Payments, upkeep and maintenance on your car(s)? Food, utilities, entertainment? As costs increase, your fixed retirement income may not be enough to keep up with all the changes.

But there are still places in the world where your retirement money will stretch further than at home. Today I’ll tell you about one of them: Hungary. To be specific, Budapest, Hungary. I moved here in 1999 to teach English as a foreign language, with retirement in mind. Prices for everything were super cheap back then; people who lived in Vienna even came to Budapest to shop.

Well, things never stay the same. Over the years prices have, of course, risen, although not as much as you’d think. Hungary is no longer dirt-cheap. But Budapest is still good value for people who want to have a high standard of living for less. Retirees moving to Budapest from a similarly-sized city in Western Europe or North America can easily cut their expenses in half. And the rest of the country costs even less.

Estimates of how many expatriates live here range from 30,000 to 50,000; in fact, there are enough “expats” in Budapest to support business newspapers and magazines in English. So you won’t be all alone if you choose to move here.

I was earning more than 13 million forints (in 1999 Hungarian money – HUF, or forints) annual gross in the United States, working in the financial industry. It was always steady, reliable work, but not the best-paid industry available. When I moved to Budapest and began teaching English, my monthly net earnings after one year were around 135,000 forints per month. Then increasing to around 338,000 forints per month after five years. I took a huge initial pay cut, but I was one-thousand percent happier. Why? Read on.

Why Retire to Hungary?

After teaching English in Budapest for eight years, I retired and I still live a much better life than I could in the US with comparable spending. The cost of monthly house payments, plus car expenses, would be more than my monthly retirement income, which is around 475,000 HUF net. Here in Budapest, my monthly flat rental, plus utilities, averages around 80,000 HUF ($400 US), in the city centre.

Budapest’s public transportation system is excellent, so I don’t need a car; in fact, I haven’t even driven a car since 1999. I eat out several times a week and I still have enough money to travel wherever and whenever I want. I have now been to 58 countries, and I still take around five or six trips each year.

I’ve watched life in Budapest get easier and easier as the years have gone by. This has been partly through my personal adjustments, and partly because the level of English fluency locally has gotten steadily better.

For a step-by-step guide on how to prepare for retirement in Hungary click here!

Hungary joined the European Union in 2004, but the country still uses the Forint, which is a volatile currency. Prices quoted here are now based on 280 forints to the dollar, but I’ve seen it as low as 148 and as high as 300. So check the current rate before cursing my name because prices have changed.

The countryside of Hungary is still quite cheap, but few expats live in the rural areas unless they’re in the wine industry. Most choose to live in Budapest, around Lake Balaton, or in one of the smaller cities like Egér or Pécs.

Hungary got hit hard in the European economic crisis like many other nations on the continent, but has recovered faster. The official unemployment rate was 8% in mid-2014, which looks downright glorious compared to Italy, Spain, Greece, or Portugal. Hungary feels like a nation on the rise and young people are displaying something not seen much in the past couple hundred years of Hungary’s history: optimism.

Housing Costs in Hungary

The residents of Hungary figure their rent costs in hundreds, not thousands, of dollars. You won’t find many single people or couples paying more than $1,200 (about 270,000 HUF per month), even in the capital. When you get into smaller towns, you can get a house for that. In fact, most locals pay between $200 and $500 a month rent for an apartment, not including utility charges. In the southern wine region, there are houses with a nice garden going for the same monthly rental.

I know an expat from New Zealand working for a winery by Lake Balaton, who was paying $210 (47,250 HUF) a month for his two-bedroom apartment with a lake-view balcony. I pay just under $300 for my apartment in District 5, one of the most desirable and central areas of the city. If you decide to buy something eventually, which you can do freely as a foreigner, a typical apartment in Budapest will cost around 80 million HUF, dependent on size and location.

Health Care Costs

In Hungary, medical care is good, dental care is great. With the rise of cross-border medical treatment happening in many places in the world, Hungary has jumped on the trend with both feet. Many residents of the UK and Ireland come here to have dental work done or to receive good medical care at a discount. I

n addition to standard dental care over the years, I had to have dental implants a few years ago. While in the US, I would have had to pay several thousand dollars; in Budapest, the charge for two implants was just over $800.

Getting a cleaning and check-up at the dentist is around $40; getting a set of x-rays is about that much again.

Food & Drink

Two people can usually have a good cloth-napkin dinner with wine for around $50. If you eat at more humble places, a soup will be a dollar or two and main dishes range from $3 to $7. When you shop in the market, prices are at the low end for Europe. You can get rolls for 10-25 cents each or a huge baguette for a dollar or less. Get 100 grams (around 1/5 of a pound) of good cheese for a dollar, 100 grams of good local sausage for $2, and a jar of pickled veggies for another dollar or so.

For a dollar or less, you can generally buy 100 grams of any of the following items in the market: raisins, peanuts, sunflower seeds, banana chips, or dried apricots. Or you can get a kilo of seasonal fruit or peppers, cabbage, potatoes, radishes, or carrots. A big bunch of white asparagus runs about a dollar. A family of four would probably spend $120-$160 a week on groceries, not including wine.

Hungarian wine

Hungarian wine should be known around the world, but the Soviet occupation days seriously hurt its reputation, so for now it’s some of the best value in the world. You can find a nice drinkable table wine bottle in a store for $4, something quite good for $6 to $8. If you spend over $12 you might end up with something from a “winemaker of the year” who has adorned Hungarian magazine covers.

As Hungary was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, you can get a killer coffee and pastry here just as you can in Vienna – but for one third of the price. After you do a double-take at your low bill in a wine bar, finish with a coffee and dessert for another nice surprise.

Transportation Costs

Getting around Hungary is relatively cheap by bus or train when you want to get out of town. Figure on $10-$12 for a trip of two hours, or $30 to go as far as you can possibly go within Hungary. Seniors and young children travel free. The longest ride on the suburban railway out of Budapest (30 kilometers) is just $2.50.

Budapest has a fantastic metro and while it’s no real bargain on a ride-by-ride basis (around $1.40 per ride), a monthly pass that also works for the trams and buses is a good value at around $35. If you’re of retirement age, you might squeak by for free and EU citizens over the age of 65 can legally travel on the entire public transport system, free of charge.

Apart from the ride from the airport, taxis in Hungary are a bargain. In general you can get around the center of Budapest in a cab for $3 to $7. It’s around $1.80 to start and $1 for each kilometer, so it’s hard to spend $10 anywhere unless it’s a long haul. Like much of Europe, this country is set up well for those on a bicycle and some expatriates use a bike as their main means of transport.

In Budapest there are lots of dedicated bike lanes and the city recently introduced the new city bikes, a pay-and-ride bicycle system used successfully in other European capitals. In the countryside there’s not nearly such an abundance of cars as you see in the capital.

Frequent promotions on the train system and Eurolines bus make international travel from here a bargain. If you plan ahead you can get to Vienna for less than $20 or to beach locations of Greece, Bulgaria, or Croatia for around $60.

Other Costs

If you pay your own utilities they can vary greatly by the season. My utilities are a good example, going from $30 in summer to $60 a month in winter. My place is not the best insulated in town, so I pay more in the winter for heat. In the summer, utilities are much lower.

Internet plus television cable service is $15 to $30 per month depending on speed and if you want a great connection, you can usually get it in the cities. The lowest-priced speed is generally 5 mbps, which is fine for a lot of people.

The land of Liszt and Bartok has an abundance of cultural performances going on at all times, from high-brow opera in the capital to an annual festival of wine songs in the south each year. Performances that aren’t free are very cheap by European standards.

The theatre is amazing here; the cost of going to a ballet or opera can nearly bankrupt you in Australia or New York City; here it’s for everyone. Tickets usually start at $5. If you buy really great seats on a weekend for a popular show it might cost you all of $25.

For more information on English language theatre in Budapest click here!

Visas in Hungary

Hungary is part of the Schengen Agreement covering much of the European Union. This means you can’t just stick around here on a tourist visa. You get three months upon entering the zone, but after that you have to leave the whole Schengen area for three months before returning.

No problem if you’re only coming for the summer; terrible if you want to settle down for longer. To get residency without being tied to a specific employer, you generally have to show you’re doing work a local can’t do, like teaching English. Or you have to show that you’re self-supported by income from abroad e.g. a retirement pension.

You can find a link to your embassy at the following site: http://www.kulugyminiszterium.hu/dtwebe/Irodak.aspx Check out your embassy website to see a sample of costs and documents needed and to be warned in case of changing requirements.

A work visa is good for a 3 years and renewable. Expect to endure a lot of bureaucracy and if you don’t have a college diploma, it’s going to be even tougher. You theoretically have to apply in your own country and will then have 30 days after entering Hungary to get the local paperwork sorted out.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the process of gaining legal residence in Hungary as a retiree, please contact Stuart McAlister from Inter Relocation at [email protected].

Most people who want to stick around either get a work permit connected to a specific job and company, or a residence permit that’s not tied to one employer.  If you wish to gain permanent residence, you can apply after being in the country for five years. This costs money for a lawyer and requires a lot of additional paperwork.

Most of the items need to be translated into Hungarian as well, plus you have to show proof of health insurance or buy into the Hungarian health care plan. If you have Hungarian blood, you may have an advantage, but gaining citizenship will still require extensive paperwork and a workable knowledge of the Hungarian language.

Hungarian Language

Hungarian is an especially tough language to crack, but you’ll often need at least some basics when you get outside the capital. Many courses are offered through local language schools in Budapest, which should get you started on what you need to know. Of course, so many more people speak English now than when I moved here that it’s much, much easier to get along these days.

For all of your relocation needs, of course, your friendly English-speaking Representative at Inter Relocation is ready and able to help you define your objectives and arrange for pretty much all documentation.

Still not sure about retirement in Budapest? Pay us a visit and check out the city and environs. Conde Nast travelers recently voted Budapest one of the top places in the world to visit, and The City on the Danube was also voted Europe’s Most Welcoming City. Budapest will no doubt cast its spell on you as it has on me and so many other foreigners. It really is a magical city on the Danube.

Related Resources:

Book: Getting Out: Your Guide to Leaving America, by Mark Ehrman

Book: A Better Life for Half the Price, a new book by Tim Leffel, author of The World’s Cheapest Destinations: 21 Countries Where Your Money is Worth a Fortune.

Various websites offer information on living abroad; look under ‘Expats’ and the country of your choice.