Budapest is a promising market for property investors

Published at: 26/07/2016 11:07 pm

Budapest is a promising market for property investors  Despite the plunge in London house prices since the Brexit referendum and the 15 per cent devaluation of the pound sterling, the UK capital remains a very expensive place to buy a home. But there are other options in Europe that still have potential for capital appreciation as well as being a pleasant places to live.         Consider Budapest, which was 12th out of 150 cities listed in Knight Frank’s first-quarter Global Residential Property Index, with prices up 15.5 per cent in the first quarter year-on-year, second only to Stockholm in Europe. Journalist Peter Cooper (he has been a senior financial journalist in the Arabian Gulf for the past 20 years) tipped Budapest as a place to invest this time last year. He wrote, that house prices are about a tenth of comparable prime locations in London. Of course Budapest is not London, although it has an eclectic parliament building modelled on Westminster, the second-oldest underground line in Europe and stunning apartments in grand classical buildings from the late 19th century. House prices here are on a rising trend and nothing short of a major global financial crisis looks set to stop them. Hungary is one of the European Union’s few low-tax destinations, with 15 per cent personal and capital gains tax, albeit VAT is 29 per cent, refundable to foreign shoppers. Corporation tax is also low, as is the cost of labor, so multinationals are flocking to Hungary as the Vietnam of Europe. In Budapest the rental laws are reckoned to be very favorable to landlords, not something that can be said of Dubai in particular these days, and yields of 5 to 6 per cent are high by international standards. Arab investors have already snapped up many top hotels. Oman’s sovereign wealth fund has the FourSeasons. The Dubai billionaire Khalaf Al Habtoor owns the newly opened Ritz-Carlton and the InterCon. The Jordanian partners Zuhair Awad and Sameer Hamdan own the high-end Buddha-Bar Hotel and the historic Párizsi Udvar building about to become another hotel. Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani owns the Ballet Institute opposite the Opera House, but has been slow to start work converting it to a hotel. For those with more modest budget, and for those, who want to use the benefits of the Hungarian State Residency Program, decent central apartments start from US$150,000 before renovation, which is also presently cheap because of low labor costs in Hungary.


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