The number of Residency By Investment programs (a.k.a. Golden Visas) for foreign investors in Europe have declined dramatically in recent years. Several programs granting Golden Visas have been discontinued, including the programs of Ireland and the UK. Portugal’s program is also expected to be terminated in the coming months.
(In a similar development, the Citizenship By Investment programs of Cyprus, Montenegro and Moldova have all been shuttered over the past couple of years.)
As a result, many prospective applicants have been left seeking alternative pathways to obtain EU residency. As Portugal’s Golden Visa program approaches its closure, the timely arrival of Hungary’s program proves to be a fortunate development for investors seeking EU residency.
Its recently launched Residency By Investment Program, introduced this year, initially remained relatively undiscovered, but interest in the program is now increasing exponentially. (Especially from China, Russia, Turkey and India.)
Before 2017, Hungary provided the Hungarian Residency Bond program, which mandated a minimum investment of €300,000.
After a period of five years, investors would receive their entire capital back without any returns. However, Hungary has now introduced a more straightforward and cost-effective pathway to residency for international property purchasers.
And as an added benefit, ALL nationalities, including Russians and citizens of Belarus, are eligible to apply.
Introducing Europe’s most affordable property based Residency By Investment program
The new visa program in Hungary stands out for its attractive pricing. While many Golden Visas in Europe come with a hefty price tag – Spain’s program requires an investment of €500,000, whilst Portugal’s cheapest option is priced at €280,000 – Hungary offers a more affordable alternative priced from only €150,000 (HUF 56 million).
And as of May 18th, 2023, it is among the most cost-effective pathways to obtain EU Golden visa residency by property acquisition in Europe…
But the one caveat? The property must be a fully completed residential abode, and you are not allowed to rent it out.
Why Choose Hungary for alternative residency?
Hungary offers a compelling combination of advantages that make it an attractive choice for living and property ownership. Here are some reasons why Hungary stands out:
- High quality of life: Hungary provides a high standard of living, offering excellent amenities, services, and infrastructure to its residents.
- Favorable tax environment: Hungary boasts investor-friendly tax policies. The corporate tax rate on profits is just 9%, which is the lowest among European Union member states. Additionally, the personal income tax rate is only 15%, and there are no taxes on dividends or capital gains.
- Low cost of living: Hungary offers a comparatively low cost of living and affordable real estate prices, making it an appealing destination for expatriates and individuals seeking a second home. This affordability allows property owners to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without significant financial burdens.
These factors, including the quality of life, affordability and favorable tax regime, contribute to Hungary’s appeal as an ideal location for both residents and property investors.
A word on the Hungarian property market in 2023…
According to data published by CEIC, the property market in Hungary has experienced significant capital appreciation in recent years. House prices recorded a remarkable year-on-year increase of 23% in September 2022, following a record-breaking surge of 24.3% in the previous quarter.
Despite these substantial price gains, the property market in Hungary remains highly affordable compared to other regions in the EU; particularly in Budapest, the capital city.
What are the program’s key requirements?
To be eligible, applicants:
- Are required to purchase any completed residential property in Hungary valued at more than €155,000. The property must allow at least 6m2 of living space per inhabitant, excluding the kitchen, corridors bathrooms and other non-living areas. This property may also not be rented out.
- While there are no minimum net worth requirements to apply, you have to have sufficient financial means to support yourself and any dependents while living in Hungary.
- The source of funds for the capital used to acquire the property has to have been legitimately gained.
To find out more about the application process, program requirements and fees, visit our Hungarian Golden Visa page.