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Homes Worldwide May 2005


We’ve bought in Hungary!

A hole in her geographical knowledge led Sue Ewing to stumble upon the city of Budapest


Single mum, Sue wanted to buy a bargain home and decided Bulgaria was the place for her, and she took a fancy to the city of Budapest – until she realized that Budapest was actually in Hungary! We asked her how a silly mistake led her to buy a property to let out.


Why did you buy property in Hungary?

My geography’s appalling, and I seriously thought Budapest was the capital of Bulgaria. Everyone had been talking about Bulgaria being a good place for cheap property, so I thought it was worth looking at. It wasn’t until a couple of days before we travelled that I discovered Budapest was actually in Hungary!


How long did it take to find the right property?

I’m a single parent and went to Budapest in August for four days with my sons, Peter aged 17 and Stuart 21, to see if we thought it was a good place to buy a property. We looked at lots of apartments: old and new. By the end, we knew we wanted an older ’classical’ building. They have bags of character and are likely to see a bigger increase in value over the long term. I didn’t have the money to buy anywhere then, but we knew we’d be back.


How did you choose the area to buy in?

With funds available at last, Stuart and I returned to Budapest in February – and walked miles to really get a feel got the place. We looked at Buda and at Pest. Many international companies have offices in Pest and it’s also where most of the tourist areas are. So, from a rental point of view, whether we aim for business folk or tourists, Pest is best. And we found a superb apartment there. We then met up with A1 Real Estate. For a novice like me, buying abroad could have been a scary experience, but A1 took away the fear and replaced it with excitement.


How much did you pay for the property?

We negotiated on the price, bringing it down from over £80 000 to £74 000.


How did you fund your purchase?

I downsized several years ago and used the extra money to buy a small UK property as an investment for my ’old age’. With UK house price inflation showing down, now seemed a good time to sell up and invest abroad.


What you are using the property for?

Initially, I just wanted to buy a place and rent it out full-time, with A1 managing the property for me. Then we fell in love with Budapest and now want to spend lots of time there. So, we’re going to do the apartment up nicely and rent it out very selectively for a few years before deciding what to do next.


Has been a good investment so far?

We’ve only just bought it, so it’s too early to tell, but there is no doubt that by spending around £7 000 on the apartment we’ll see a significant increase in its value. It's in a superb spot, and I’m convinced that Budapest is about to really take off as an investment opportunity.



Are the local people friendly and welcoming?

Yes, definitely. I just hope that the cheap flights that have started bringing thousands of Brits to Budapest don’t also bring our drunken yobs, which has happened to so many other European cities.


What are your plans for the future?

Life is so unpredictable that I’ve given up making plans for the future. A year ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of owing a fab apartment in Budapest. SO who knows!


© 2003 A1 Real Estate