With its quaint country charm, western Hungary remains a well-kept secret from most of the English-speaking Western world. Hungary offers a low cost of living, low property taxes and ready to move-in homes for under $50,000. Rural Hungary is a highly affordable and attractive option for buyers seeking an old world European lifestyle as well. See the following article from International Living for more on this.
There’s something intriguing about Hungary. Take away Budapest, goulash and gypsy violins, and it’s practically unknown to the English-speaking world.
Did you know Pecs is one of 2010’s European Cities of Culture? Or that Lake Balaton has thatched-roof villages and vineyards? When I told friends I’d been to towns like Dombovar and Kormend, it produced the same puzzled reaction as if I’d said I’d explored the far side of Pluto.
So it isn’t surprising that ripe-for-restoration cottages list for $10,000. Or that traditional homes of the move-into variety often sell for under $50,000. Nobody knows rural Hungary exists!
Of course, I’m exaggerating. Although there’s still only a trickle of westerners, Hungary’s low cost of living and affordable properties are starting to get attention. Pensions stretch a long way here. Annual property taxes rarely exceed $60, and you’ll find two-course lunch specials for just $2.70.
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In May, I journeyed into the provinces—the heartland of the now-vanished Austro-Hungarian Empire. From Lake Balaton to the baroque towns near the Austrian border, countless places are sprinkled with enchantment.
Nostalgia seems embedded in the collective psyche. This is the forgotten Europe of piglet markets and horse-drawn carts, of stray chickens and arcaded farmhouses where paprika peppers are hung to dry during the hot summers.
Wild boars roam the forests and handsome csardas (inns) serve roast duck and dumplings for $6. And it’s no rumor. There’s often a “man down the lane” who turns villagers’ excess apricots and cherries into palinka (schnapps).
One newcomer is Bruce Sylvester, an American medical journalist living in a village outside Kormend, in western Hungary. Bruce enjoys life’s good things and dines in Kormend’s best hotel every day. He puts his daily living costs at between $20 and $30.
That’s less than $11,000 a year to live in what he calls “wonderland.” And, incidentally, wonderland comes with a nearby private medical clinic and all the connectivity needed for a work-from-home Internet business.
Bruce’s story illustrates the likely restoration costs of a traditional cottage. He paid $8,000 for his, plus $2,000 for the land. Including the purchase price, the total cost was $45,000.
On the edge of a national park, the Kormend area is great for seeking rural bargains. Farmhouses and cute cottages with thick walls and stout oak beams, for instance. I saw a 200-year-old cottage here for $14,500. It needs modernizing, but labor costs are low. Knowing the expense of thatching roofs in Ireland, I was astounded to learn the price here: $9,000 for a typical cottage.
Oh, and if you need it, Austria and its ultra-private banking system are but 20 minutes away.
This article has been republished from International Living.