Can you buy a villa in Hungary or even a palace?
Yes, you can. It depends on taste, investment volume and, in the case of castles, often on personal commitment to the restoration. Depending on the condition, size and location, the price range is between half a million Euro and a double-digit million Euro amount.
There are many reasons for emigrating to Hungary. And every year more Western Europeans come to Hungary as welcome immigrants.
History of palaces, castles, estates, villas and manor houses in Hungary
Historically, palaces in Hungary were built of wood in the 10th century when Hungarian tribes moved into the Carpathian Basin. Due to many conflicts, most of the wooden buildings have been destroyed over time.
After the Kingdom of Hungary came into being in the year 1000 with the coronation of Saint Stephen I, castles and fortresses were initially created primarily for military reasons.1
With the influence of the Renaissance in the 15th-17th centuries In the 19th century, kings, princes and nobles built most of the castles and palaces in urban areas to showcase their power and wealth. During the Baroque period from the 17th to 18th centuries, the construction of castles and villas moved to the countryside surrounded by large gardens and parks.
The majority of the 2,000 castles and estates that exist in Hungary today date from the 14th to 19th centuries. Around 700 of them are listed as buildings for historic preservation.2, 3
With the advancing industrialization and the associated wealth of industrialists, magnificent villas and mansions also emerged in Hungary in the 19th century.
The term villa (Latin for “country house”, “country estate”) is not really defined. In ancient Rome and the Renaissance, a pompous house in the countryside of the ruling classes was called a villa. The name was later adopted in the 19th century for free-standing houses of the upper middle class.4
Today the term villa is mostly used to describe spacious luxurious residences. This is often accompanied by an upscale lifestyle, a larger property and high-quality construction. Spacious living space, sophisticated architecture and an exclusive location are further defining features.
In Hungary, locals sometimes already refer to slightly larger houses as villas.
From my perspective, from a Western European perspective, it should either be sophisticated older houses that were exceptional in their time or larger, modern properties with exclusive developments.
Opportunities to purchase palaces, castles, estates and manor houses in Hungary
Depending on your taste and budget, you can now find castles, estates and manor houses in Hungary that are for sale. Some of them have been completely restored, others not at all or partly because money or patience ran out.
The costs for a castle, estate or manor house in Hungary vary considerably and depend on location, size, condition, historical value and furnishings. As a rough guide, you can experience the following ranges in the market:
A palace in need of renovation, depending on the size and scope of the renovation, or a well-preserved country estate in need of renovation can be had for between half a million and several million Euro in the single-digit range. For those interested in living in the country, you can also get a well-renovated farm for between half a million and a million Euro.
A modernized castle with as many historical elements as possible or a functioning winery are of course more expensive and start at several million euros.
Luxurious historical castles in well-preserved condition with good provenance cost in the double-digit million euro range.
Opportunities to buy a villa in Hungary
There are many reasons why you could buy a villa. People value an upscale lifestyle, luxury, space and privacy or like unique architecture and cultural values. Some buyers treat villas as an investment with the potential to increase in value, others like a home with the ability to accommodate a large family or host lavish parties and celebrations. Some villas are also rented on a weekly basis, especially in the tourist areas around Lake Balaton. Whatever the reasons, stick with Old Fritz, King Frederick II of Prussia: “Everyone should be blessed according to their own style.”
Buyers are not just wealthy Hungarians. In the meantime, more and more financially strong medium-sized entrepreneurs or wealthy pensioners from Western Europe are coming to Hungary looking for an adequate home in a quiet, safe country.
Older villas are now occasionally used as guesthouses in Hungary and start in price at around half a million euros, although you would then have to invest in order to get them up to today's standard or to restore them to a condition close to their original condition.
If you want to buy a modern villa in Hungary, you will of course find what you are looking for. Both modern existing properties as well as new buildings or even villas in villa parks are available.
Depending on the location and definition, a modern villa in Hungary starts at around half a million Euro, whereas a villa on Lake Balaton with a lake view costs around 1.2 to 1.6 million Euro. Depending on the extravagance, the price pendulum can sometimes go over the 2 million Euro mark. An architect's villa on a golf course, for example, can cost over 2.5 million Euro.
Basically, you should note that financing through Hungarian banks is usually neither possible nor does it make sense due to the high interest rates (key interest rate at the end of 2023 over 10%). Therefore, the principle applies as with all real estate in Hungary: cash is king.
For the renovation of historical buildings, including castles, mansions and country estates, there are government programs in Hungary as part of monument protection funding or EU funding that aims to preserve cultural heritage.5
In addition to financing, depending on the location of the property, the area limits for agricultural land may have to be taken into account for larger properties. As a rule, these are all areas outside of towns, including forests or vineyards. Here it is only possible to purchase land of up to 1ha per person unless you are registered as a farmer with the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture.
On top, there are a few general tips for buying property in Hungary in the blog under the FAQ section
Author: Dr. Peik Langerwisch
After studying business administration with a degree in business administration and a magna cum laude doctorate in management theory, the author worked in global management consultancies and banks for twenty years and has now used his expertise as a real estate agent for real estate in Hungary for several years. He owns his own property in Hungary and spends a significant part of the year in the country serving clients and enjoying the country's beauty.
Brief overview of expertise and career
2 Liste von Burgen, Schlössern und Festungen in Ungarn – Wikipedia
3 List of palaces and mansions in Hungary - Wikipedia
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