The Hungarian Economy

By: Helen Hunt

Hungary has experienced a series of sweeping changes, which have transformed it from a Socialist country to a thriving market economy with its door firmly in the door of the European Union. Even during it's as a Soviet satellite state, Hungary was the most developed, liberal and wealthy nation in Eastern Europe. Under socialism, it maintained a steady rate of development and with the dissolution of socialism in 1989; the city has entered the post-industrial age with a leading role of blue-collar workforce. The Hungarian Economy continues to grow, and inflation is at a low level relative to the rest of the emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe. Hungary has experienced a series of sweeping changes, which have transformed it from a Socialist country to a thriving market economy with its foot firmly in the door of the European Union. Even during its years as a Soviet satellite state, Hungary was the most developed, liberal and wealthy nation in Eastern Europe

Hungary was the first Country in Central Europe to join the World Bank and IMF in 1982. Over 30 Billion euros have been injected into Hungary since 1989, and the growth rate of FDI in 2003 reached 45%. Hungary was the first Country in Central Europe to join NATO in 1999, and became a full member of the European Union on 1st May 2004.

Various Property Investment surveys have shown that in the last ten years properties have grown in value, on average, more than 350 percent. Between 1999 and 2003 Budapest property prices increased by 60 percent, and between 2003 and 2005 the economy has seen a growth rate of 15 to 20 percent. In the Budapest property market, rental incomes have provided minimum yields of 7 percent, rising to around 10 percent. There are a number of solid reasons and indicators to suggest that Hungary's economy should continue to grow at current rates. Property investors can feel secure that there is still much more to gain from buying Hungarian property. Politically Hungary is stable and its system of government is transparent, which has led to numerous companies moving all or part of their European workforce in the country. Since the beginning of the 1190's the inflow of foreign operating capital has been the main source for the modernisation of the economic structure and for the improvement of competitiveness in Hungary.

With the introduction of cheap flights from major airports from around the world, tourism is increasing at a remarkable rate, and Ferihegy will soon become one of the busiest airports in Eastern Europe. In the first ten months of 2004 discount airlines brought 338'000 visitors to Hungary, and Budapest is among the ten most preferred International destinations. One important factor contributing to Hungary's continued economic success is the drive towards adoption of the Euro, set for 2010. Government policy should remain sensible and stable in coming years as this target of further European integration is aimed for.

As an ancient European capital city, Budapest has many of the charms of other major European cities, which, coupled with the dynamism of the economy in the decade and a half since communism, makes the still very low property prices extremely attractive, for both investors and those looking for second homes in a European capital of culture.

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