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As the main area for expats in Hungary, Budapest has a wide range of housing available. Accommodation in Budapest is, for the most part, more affordable than in many other European capital cities.
Budapest is divided by the Danube River into two areas, Buda and Pest, each of which offers a distinct atmosphere and array of accommodation options.
Pest is more of a business area and many companies locate their headquarters in this section of the city. Pest is also filled with lively cafés and vibey nightlife hangouts and, as such, is a popular residential area for young, single people keen on the vibrant social scene. Expats choosing to live in the Pest part of the city will find a number of apartments available for rent.
Buda, on the opposite bank of the river, is more suburban and tends to be occupied by families who prefer the larger houses, some of which come complete with gardens. One negative factor about choosing to live in Buda is that the commute to work can be problematic, largely due to traffic jams and slightly substandard road quality. Expats working in Pest who are intent on living in Buda are advised to look for property close to public transport routes or metro stations as this will effectively reduce their daily commute.
Types of accommodation in Budapest
Apartments are the most popular type of accommodation in Budapest, especially on the bustling east side of the Danube. Apartments in Budapest vary considerably in price, largely depending on their size, location and condition. Expats in Budapest should note that although apartments in older buildings boast high ceilings and attractive design, they are usually more expensive than their modern counterparts.
Houses are far more common in the laid-back suburban areas of Budapest. They are inevitably more expensive than most apartments, but they do offer a lot more space and occasionally even a garden. Houses may be best suited for families moving to Budapest, as they are normally close to schools, parks and playgrounds.
Finding accommodation in Budapest
Expats should not have much difficulty finding accommodation in Budapest. There are plenty of online classifieds and websites offering a wide range of properties. There are also listings in local newspapers, and expats should make sure to pick one up to avoid potentially missing out on a great deal, though they may need to enlist the help of a local to translate Hungarian ads.
Expats looking for accommodation in Budapest who don’t have the time to browse the market themselves can always make use of a local real-estate agent. Doing so will incur a realtor fee of the equivalent of between one and three months’ rent, but it can be worth it in the long run, especially if expats are experiencing trouble with the language barrier.
Renting accommodation in Budapest
Expats looking to rent accommodation in Budapest will enjoy a good quality-to-price ratio. Unlike many other European capitals, rentals are relatively uncommon for locals in Budapest and the demand from expats largely drives the rental market.
Some landlords in Budapest are perfectly happy to forgo a written contract in favour of a verbal agreement with the tenant. While this is considerably quicker and easier than a written contract, verbal agreements do not offer the same degree of security and can be susceptible to sudden changes by the landlord. Once a lease agreement has been drawn up, expats should make sure to go over their contract in detail before signing or moving in to ensure that they understand the terms and conditions of the rental.
Tenants will have to put down a security deposit before moving in. The required deposit before moving in is set and agreed upon by both parties, but usually amounts to between one and three months of rent.
The rent paid to the landlord does not include monthly fees for utilities and, in the case of apartment rentals, monthly levies. These are for the tenant's own expense.
►To learn more about the different areas of Budapest, see Areas and Suburbs in Budapest
"All options are available, however, accommodation mostly consists of flats, apartments and condos. Apparently, buying a property is expensive, so I prefer to rent. The standards are generally high, although many old buildings need refurbishment in specific areas such as electricity and plumbing."
Read more about American expat Gary's experiences in Budapest.
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