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Cost of living 2018 in Hungary

Hello everyone,

As per our annual tradition, we invite you to share your experiences and tell us more about the average prices of products and services in your town/city/area, so that we have updated information regarding cost of living and inflation in Hungary.

Thanks to your contribution, future expats in Hungary will be more informed and will be able to refine their budget and better prepare for their big move.

How much does it cost to rent an apartment or a house in Hungary?

How much does it cost to buy an apartment or a house in Hungary?

How much do you pay on average for public transportation (bus, subway, train, tram, taxi)?

How much do you pay for basic food items such as rice, bread, and pasta?

What is your monthly budget for groceries?

How much does it cost to see a doctor/dentist/physician/specialist in Hungary?

How much do you pay for health insurance per month?

How much does childcare cost on average per month?

What is your child's schooling budget per month?

How much does it cost to fill up your car’s fuel tank?

How much do you pay for electricity/gas/water etc., per month?

How much do you pay for your internet and phone subscription?

How much do you pay for your lunch pack on weekdays?

How much do you pay for an espresso coffee?

How much do you pay for a cinema ticket?

How much does a gym membership cost in Hungary?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

Priscilla :

How much does it cost to buy an apartment or a house in Hungary?

From my reading (have not bought lately myself) It is going up. But more driven by speculation than inflation.

Priscilla :

How much do you pay on average for public transportation (bus, subway, train, tram, taxi)?

The same. 250 HUF per trip.

Priscilla :

How much do you pay for electricity/gas/water etc., per month?

Electricity went up a few hundred Forint. Currently paying ~5800 HUF a month for electricity.

Priscilla :

How much do you pay for your internet and phone subscription?

Same. No change. about 7,000 HUF a month.

Priscilla :

How much do you pay for an espresso coffee?

That can be quite expensive. Easy 350 to 450 Forint. Poof. Gone with a caffeine shot.

klsallee :
Priscilla :

How much do you pay on average for public transportation (bus, subway, train, tram, taxi)?

The same. 250 HUF per trip.

It's 320-350 HUF for a single journey ticket on the BKV (in Budapest).

Priscilla :

How much does it cost to rent an apartment or a house in Hungary?

Depends on the size. Around 80.000-200.000 HUF.

Priscilla :

How much does it cost to buy an apartment or a house in Hungary?

I just bought a 73sqr m apartment for almost 19 million. Prices go up by about a million or 2 each year.

Priscilla :

How much do you pay on average for public transportation (bus, subway, train, tram, taxi)?

9500 HUF per month, in the form of a monthy pass in Budapest.

Priscilla :

What is your monthly budget for groceries?

Trying to limit it to the very basics. Not much left after the loan. About 20-30.000.

Priscilla :

How much does it cost to see a doctor/dentist/physician/specialist in Hungary?

It s free.

Priscilla :

How much do you pay for health insurance per month?

7320 HUF. That is the universal cost for everybody.

Priscilla :

How much does childcare cost on average per month?

Its free.

Priscilla :

How much does it cost to fill up your cars fuel tank?

About 20.000 HUF...would be, if I had a car.

Priscilla :

How much do you pay for your lunch pack on weekdays?

Lunch pack? Everything I eat is included in the 220-30.000 HUF.

Priscilla :

How much do you pay for a cinema ticket?

950 HUF.

fluffy2560 :
klsallee :
Priscilla :

How much do you pay on average for public transportation (bus, subway, train, tram, taxi)?

The same. 250 HUF per trip.

It's 320-350 HUF for a single journey ticket on the BKV (in Budapest).

Yes, I should have clarified not in Budapest: countryside base price is a bit less. ;)

We pay a higher rate for cable services because we refuse to sign a contract for a year or more.
It's around 11,000F per month, it does cost less if you sign a contract,we are month to month.
Health care is around 7,300 per person if you are enrolled in national health care.
Most things are free but wait times can be long for things like ultrasounds or seeing a specialist.
For a young healthy person who only goes in for a annual check up or minor things then it is covered by national health.
All medications or any special equipment like canes, crutches, wheelchairs are paid out of pocket.
Just for example, the thyroid specialist had a 6 month wait time to get in with national health. They only allow you to make a appointment on certain days on certain months to even sign up for the 6 month wait.
If you paid out of pocket it is only around 10,000F to see a private thyroid specialist with a short wait time to get in.That's just for the office visit, any tests would also have to come out of pocket if going private. Not easy to be able to mix paying for some tests yourself and having other tests covered by the state.
Had a MRI done here and saw the gov. paid about $80. for the MRI. Very cheap compared to what that would of cost in the US but if you need several tests it can also add up with tips and tests and medications.
Have to ask yourself if it's worth the wait or not to save a couple of bucks.
I thought I could mix it up between national health and paying for some things myself. Paid for my own ultrasound at a private place because there was a 3 week wait time to get in. Had the results in hand but still had to wait another month to see the national health orthopedic doctor.
Cheap is not always the best way to go.
There is also the tipping issue with doctors, if you pay private then you don't need to tip. With national health you may not have to tip but then you are rolling the dice on your future care.
I of course can not prove this but if you are not a native speaker  and from a western country and don't tip along the way, you can hit a stone wall in your care in different ways.We have noticed that poorer people locals are treated alright at offices but outsiders are given the once over . First by support staff and then sometimes by the doctors, that's why tipping comes into play.
Some doctors refuse a tip but hard to know who expects one.
Your test results may get "lost" in the mix, the appointment date was not written down or it was changed because the doc was called out. All sorts of small bumps in the road if you don't tip. Have to ask yourself if it's worth it for another 10,000F in tips or not.
Hard to know exactly how much to tip as well, too much and they may have you seeing them all the time and not enough in tips and they forget your name.
I suppose if you have a slight cold then going with the gov. system is good but anything complicated is worth paying out of pocket if you can afford it.

Tried to erase my above comments but too late... Seems I always have a issue with health care...
For over 30 some years I didn't even visit a doctor. Think that is the safest way to go, witch doctors at least make you feel you are getting better...

Fair rental fees for private persons (not businesses) in Budapest close to good public transport are around 2.500 Ft/sqm on the Buda side and approach 3.000 Ft/sqm on the Pest side, obviously depending on exact location and Fixtures & Fittings. Kitchen furniture and appliances are usually always included. Interestingly, there's no significant rent difference between furnished and unfurnished flats, except the audience differs. Supposedly, expats would go for furnished. But beware, oftentimes all some landlords do is place a big armchair in the living room, a shelf on the wall, and call that 'furnished'.

The 50 sqm-panel flat I let presently runs on annually averaged community and utilities costs of 35.000 Ft/month, all inclusive, and I mean all inclusive! My own home, twice the size, cost me 55.000 Ft/month. Some flats involve very high community costs, typically those of older build with centralised heating that you can't really 'opt out' of.

Electricity 36 Ft/kWh, gas 100 Ft/m^3, water & sewerage 600 Ft/m^3. Prime minister Orban grants everyone a 10% discount on energy costs, therefore these are among the lowest in Europe.

Property purchase prices in Budapest have doubled in the past 4 years. Old-style brick buildings in central locations fetch almost 700 kFt/m^2, ex-communist panel flats have passed 400 kFt/m^2. Families may also wish to look for affordable houses to buy or rent in the adjacent Pest county areas just outside Budapest. Turnaround costs are comparatively modest at 4% stamp duty (and seller pays the estate agent).

How much does it cost to rent an apartment or a house in Hungary?
Upwards of 400 € in Budapest

How much does it cost to buy an apartment or a house in Hungary?
A refurbished Central studio apartment in Budapest costs anything upwards of 60,000 €

How much do you pay on average for public transportation (bus, subway, train, tram, taxi)?
Public inner city Budapest transport cost 350 HUF per journey.
Regional trains cost approximately 1300 HUF per 50 klm

How much do you pay for basic food items such as rice, bread, and pasta?
approx 150,000HUF per item

What is your monthly budget for groceries?
Single person 40,000 HUF per month

How much does it cost to see a doctor/dentist/physician/specialist in Hungary?
N/A

How much do you pay for health insurance per month?
N/A

How much do you pay for electricity/gas/water etc., per month?
electricity 5,000. gas 5,000. water 4,000HUF

How much do you pay for your internet and phone subscription?
12,000 HUF including city and countryside access and mobile phone contract,tv, and landline free local calls. UPC is the best in the city and access is increasing in the countryside.

How much do you pay for your lunch pack on weekdays? Never more than 1,000 HUF drink and sandwich

How much does a gym membership cost in Hungary?
15,000HUF per month with use of a pool and classes central Budapest

My house is on the market for 20,000 Euros, about the same as I paid for it in 2011. I put in central heating, double glazing, a new kitchen and had the roof overhauled, so the new owner will get these improvements for free. It has been on the market for over a year and there is very little interest. As usual, people tell you about Budapest as though it is representative of Hungary as a whole.

klsallee :

The same. 250 HUF per trip......Yes, I should have clarified not in Budapest: countryside base price is a bit less. ;)

I think I pay 460 ft for the bus from Belezna to Nagykanizsa but it is over 20 km.

When I purchased my cottage in the countryside, in the forest, I was told that the value of such properties did not necessarily increase and therefore not to expect any increase in value.  So I assume it is probably only worth what I paid for it seven years ago even though I have maintained it well.

Bills and maintenance costs per year are only 150,000 HUF per year but if I plant new trees or want anything different in the garden this would be extra.
Therefore it was was cheaper than buying a holiday caravan in the uk that I would only be allowed to use on the camp site for 20 years before replacing it in the uk.

Council tax in my area is only 18,000 HUF per year. Site fees for mobile homes in the uk are far more per month.
Rural Hungary has always been very undervalued apart from the touristic areas and areas nearer to the West. In my area young people leave because there are few job opportunities, little happening socially and they are not interested in gardening.
However it is a brilliant holiday home for me and my friends and visitors and the yearly running costs are very low.
Budapest is the capital city and currently my apartment there has increased in value  especially over the past three years. But I think this increase in value  is common in the EU. and what goes up can also go down.

fidobsa :

..... It has been on the market for over a year and there is very little interest. As usual, people tell you about Budapest as though it is representative of Hungary as a whole.

We sold our house in Austria after 3 years of it being pretty much unoccupied.  We made a small net loss after improvements to the property.  We added it up and it was about the same as paying rent. So at the end of the day, we felt we were lucky to get away with it. 

We had the most luck selling by sticking our own signs outside, printing off advertising sheets and putting them in people's letter boxes, sticking the house up on public notice boards etc.  We eventually sold without even an agent involved.  The agent was useless - they essentially stopped people viewing and even worse we saw they no longer had it on their notice board. That means potential buyers were never informed of it's existence and the agent was free to push a different property for higher return.  Total self interest. In subsequent discussions we also found that buyers were put off by the agent fees.  So we told the agent to clear off, we'd do it ourselves.  Still took another 18 months.

Budapest is very different to the countryside but some places just outside Budapest are worth thinking about for capital growth and/or lowered costs - Torokbalint, Budaors etc on the Western side.  Maybe also nearer the airport.

fidobsa :

My house is on the market for 20,000 Euros, about the same as I paid for it in 2011.

You may also need to consider that you might have overpaid above market value in 2011.

fidobsa :

I put in central heating, double glazing, a new kitchen and had the roof overhauled, so the new owner will get these improvements for free.

A buyer then may think there is something otherwise wrong with the property and you are trying to unload a white elephant. Wrong psychology.

Early on in business I would bid for projects at what I knew they would cost plus a profit for me. But never got a contract. People did not think my bid was serious, or that I would deliver sub-standard products at that price (no, I wouldn't). Then in a whim, I just tripled the bid once and got the contract. It cost me less than 1/3 the bid price to do it (exactly what I knew it would cost -- the rest was just money in my pocket). People sometimes just wrongly assume that price means actual cost and quality, when those two issues may be completely decoupled.

Since you are unable to sell, consider taking it off the market for a few months, then re-listing it at 2x or 3x the current price. Then push to really "sell it" to the correct demographic. Even if you can not sell it at the price, you get more room later to "deal" or say things like "Must sell, willing to let it go at a sacrifice price by taking 10,000 off price to any interested buyer", etc. etc. etc.

That is salesmanship. Actual, objective reality need not be in the equation at all. Just look at the POTUS. ;)

Yes sometimes letting your neighbors know the house is for sale is a great help.
I know ATM our next door neighbors mother would love to see our place, she wants to live close to her son.
Will consider her if and when we decide to move on.
If I had not opened my mouth up and told his ex-wife we may move I wouldn't even of known his mom was even looking to have a place next to him. They already have allot of other apts and homes in Hungary they are Hungarians but he has lived and worked in the UK and in the US with his computer/teaching skills.   
You could also consider adds in a UK paper, might appeal to someone there because they may not need to be close to work, many people work from home these days.

klsallee :

....Then in a whim, I just tripled the bid once and got the contract. It cost me less than 1/3 the bid price to do it (exactly what I knew it would cost -- the rest was just money in my pocket). People sometimes just wrongly assume that price means actual cost and quality, when those two issues may be completely decoupled.

Since you are unable to sell, consider taking it off the market for a few months, then re-listing it at 2x or 3x the current price. Then push to really "sell it" to the correct demographic. Even if you can not sell it at the price, you get more room later to "deal" or say things like "Must sell, willing to let it go at a sacrifice price by taking 10,000 off price to any interested buyer", etc. etc. etc....

I tend to agree but it's a odd game - if it costs more it must be more serious. 

There's another aspect of sales.  If  someone doesn't want to do something they usually inflate the price to a level that is bordering or just over the top end of a known budget.  If it's a win, they are quids in and if they lose, then didn't want to do it anyway so no further concerns.

It's definitely like Trump - from what I read he didn't expect to win - but his obvious over egging of the cake worked.  He can talk the talk but can he (really) walk the walk.

One thing you might want to suggest to buyers is covering the legal costs for a cash (via lawyer) transaction.  An incentive and cheaper at 3% than perhaps 25% discount - depends on the buyers logic and thinking.   

But definitely think about the realistic price and getting rid of the agent and doing it yourself.

In Hungary one needs to see a lawyer at the end of all sales so the agent in my mind is just a middle man who isn't always on your side. His commision is based on a percentage of your property.
At least in the US for the 7% real estate agents usually cost they hook you up with a mortgage co. and handle allot of the paperwork, the work that requires a lawyer over here.
We first used a couple of agents when looking for a flat to buy, in the end we found it ourselves through a newspaper add in Budapest.
We got ripped off at the end however because the seller used a agent on their side and we had to pay half of his fees. Not sure why the sellers used a agent since she was only around once at the open house, we did most of the leg work and hired our own lawyer. Almost walked from the deal when we found out it was going to cost us another $3,000 in cash on hand.
When we sold our home in S.Ca. we did all the legwork ourselves, put adds in the paper etc.
It was our first time buying or selling property so we hired a small co. that charged a flat 3% rate to help with the sale, agents charge 7% in the US at least back then they did.
After the sale we realized we could of done it ourselves and saved that 3% even.
All that co. did was give us good leads on how to go about selling the house ourselves, gave us some signs to put up etc. no where close to 3% of effort on their part.
I organized the adds, open house and showing the house myself.
We were able to sell about 7% cheaper then our neighbors who used agents. Our house sold within 2 weeks time, way too fast for me but sure made my husband happy.

fluffy2560 :

if it costs more it must be more serious.

I can only assume then you have never bid for and won a government contract.....  :D

fluffy2560 :

But definitely think about the realistic price and getting rid of the agent and doing it yourself.

The real estate game is full of potholes, scams, unknown details, etc. etc. et.. A DIY game plan is not necessarily a good idea for most people unless they are retired or otherwise have a lot of free time to do their homework and legwork. Else, might actually probably end up loosing money on the sale.

Do rather consider spending time finding a competent professional agent, especially if seeking international buyers. Check the agent's sales history. Seller customer satisfaction. Etc. All too often people pick a retailer basically out of a hat with out much homework on their competence. Never a good idea.

But selling in the countryside is very difficult. Not too many agents locally available for property showing. So the above advise in reality may not be as useful as it seems.

klsallee :
fluffy2560 :

if it costs more it must be more serious.

I can only assume then you have never bid for and won a government contract.....  :D

I wish.  :rolleyes:

It's a bit like having grey hair.  If you have grey hair you simply MUST know what you are doing.  For the bean counters, they understand a pencil so can comment and interfere but for very complex (aka expensive) things, they end up having to trust the supplier or fall back to  contract terms as cover. 

klsallee :

The real estate game is full of potholes, scams, unknown details, etc. etc. et.. A DIY game plan is not necessarily a good idea for most people unless they are retired or otherwise have a lot of free time to do their homework and legwork. Else, might actually probably end up losing money on the sale.

I think finding the buyer yourself is fine.   

You will find out if they are wasters if they don't turn up at the lawyer's place and./or pay the upfront deposit.

klsallee :

Do rather consider spending time finding a competent professional agent, especially if seeking international buyers. Check the agent's sales history. Seller customer satisfaction. Etc. All too often people pick a retailer basically out of a hat with out much homework on their competence. Never a good idea.

Checking agents abilities must be useless here. 

I reckon it's mostly amateurs in the neighbourhood who just do it part time  and on the side.  I dunno why some of them even bother. 

And to be contrary against myself, we bought our house via a local agent but she had very intense and long connections in the area and had kept her ear to the ground.  The house was not even advertised.

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